Jerry served in the U.S. Army from 1968 to 1969 in both Ft. Hood, Texas and Chu Lai, Vietnam. He was a member of H-Troop 17th Cavalry as a gunner on an armored personnel carrier (APC).
Jerry passed away in December 2011 at just 66 years old.
Jerry’s son, Jeremy, who served in the Marine Corps Reserves, 1st Battalion, 24th Marines, was initially nominated for the NFM Salute but instead chose to recognize his father. Jeremy describes him as an overall incredible man and loving father.
“He loved me and my sister unconditionally. I’ve never felt that kind of love from anybody. My dad was always there to help. I respect what he did. He went over there and served selflessly. He was a very good man; I wish I could be half the man that he was.”
Jeremy chose the Gary Sinise Foundation to receive this month’s donation in his father’s honor. NFM looks forward to the opportunity to continue to honor military and Veterans through the NFM Salute initiative.
Full Transcript of Video Interview is Below:
– Welcome into our final NFM Salute of 2019 and a very warm story to share with you. I’m Greg Sher from NFM TV. We welcome in Jeremy Williams who himself served in the Marine Corps Reserves from 1997 to 2005 in the First Battalion 24th Marines in Saginaw, Michigan, but he didn’t want this to be about him so he in turn nominated his dad, Jerry Williams, who served in among other places Vietnam. Jeremy, thank you so much for being with us here on NFM TV, how are you?
– Thanks, I appreciate it, I’m good how are you?
– Very good. So tell us why you wanted your dad to be recognized, instead of you, and what kind of man he was?
– Well, I think for one just his service in Vietnam, respected every man and woman that served in Vietnam, and every war for that matter, but just respect what he did, went over there, served selflessly. I didn’t go overseas I served and my time was all in peace time, but I respect all Veterans of war.
– And your father when he came back obviously it was a very trying period for all of those who returned from Vietnam. What did he share with you about the emotions surrounding his return?
– You know he was pretty quiet for the most part of what went on over there, but I think very disappointed in the reaction that his, him and his fellow soldiers received when they came back. You know a lot of these guys, men and women, didn’t wanna go over necessarily, might not have believed in what we were doing, but they were drafted to serve our country and that’s what they did.
– Yeah, and he served, his unit was, H Troop in the 17th Cavalry, he was a gunner on the armored personnel carrier, so also a brave man.
– Yeah, for sure. You know like I say, I gotta give all those men and women credit for sure, especially Vietnam it just, I think it was a very hard war to wrap your head around and then, like I said, to come back and deal with some of that negativity, I can’t even imagine it so.
– Well, you followed in his footsteps. Did he, is that something he encouraged you to do, to also go fight for your country, or was that something you did on your own?
– No, he actually didn’t want me to I think just from what he saw and went through, but I just always, I had something for the Marine Corp, I had the urge to serve and proud to do it.
– So you were not alive when he served, but you came along in the world a little bit later on, but I understand from talking to you, prior to this, that he had very unique discipline about him that kind of helped shape your character. Tell us a little bit about that.
– Yeah, just a disciplined man, structured, and you know what I think a lot of that was his military experience, but you know in other, in to that very loving, very caring man. Loved, you know, both me and my sister unconditionally no matter what we did, so.
– You were kind enough to also share some pictures of him so we’re taking a look at some of those right now. He was also a great grandfather, and I say he was, because he passed away in 2011, but he was a family man. He was a man of great integrity. Give us a window into that.
– Just, like I said, he loved me and my sister unconditionally. I’ve never felt that kind of love from anybody. You never, you never had second thoughts, or guesses, whether or not your dad cared about you, or loved you. Spent numerous hours with my kids helping babysit, just having fun playing with ’em and, financially helped us when times were tough. I was a police officer for seven years and was laid off in 2010 and just, my dad was always there to help, like I said, either to support financially or just helping out with the daycare aspect of it, so, just loved the heck out of us. It was just a huge loss to not have him.
– You can tell it still hurts to this day and it’s been eight years, but you can see the look on your face, it still pains you.
– Yeah, for sure, it’s just hard. I still get choked up talking about him all the time and so it’s just, he was a very good man.
– Wish I could be half the man that he was.
– Jeremy, we really appreciate you representing your father and sharing so much about him. What a great man. We thank him for his service and now we share the story of him both serving and as a man and they’re both quite remarkable. And I also wanna thank you again for your service, we really appreciate it very much.
– Yeah and I thank you guys for reaching out. He’d be very proud and we appreciate what you guys are doing to honor Veterans, so.
– It’s a pleasure it really is. Thank you and all those who have served. Have a great rest of your 2019 and we wish you and your family the best in 2020.
– You as well, thank you.
– All right, thank you very much. That’s Jeremy Williams and we saluted, Jerry Williams, his father who served in Vietnam. I’m Greg Sher from NFM TV. What a 2019 it’s been honoring those who are currently serving and who have served. We look forward to bringing you more of these segments in 2020. Have a great holiday season and we’ll talk to you soon, thanks.