One of the Marine Corps' most influential officers will retire to his home state of Alabama July 10 at Marine Barracks Washington, after nearly 40 years in service.
Commissioned a second lieutenant in May 1974, Lieutenant General Willie J. Williams, has served as the Director of the Marine Corps Staff (DMCS) since July 2009.
As the top adviser to two commandants of the Marine Corps, he's one of only four African-American Marines to wear the rank of three-star general.
Lt. Gen. Williams began his career with the 11th Marine Artillery Regiment in May 1975, serving first as a Battalion Supply Officer and then as the Regimental Supply Officer/Assistant S4 Officer. In October 1977, he was assigned to the 3rd Force Service Support Group as the Officer-In-Charge, Inventory Control Point, Iwakuni, Japan. After his one-year tour in Iwakuni, he returned to the U.S. for duty at Marine Barracks, North Island, San Diego, California; while there serving as the Ship's Detachment Supply Officer, Pacific Ocean Area/Marine Barracks Supply Officer and Barracks Executive Officer. In June 1982, he reported to Quantico, Virginia for duty as Platoon Commander, Officer Candidate School and later attended the Amphibious Warfare School.
In May 1983, he became the Supply Officer, Mountain Warfare Training Center, Bridgeport, California and from August 1985 to June 1989 served as the Assistant Division Supply Officer, 3rd Marine Division, Okinawa Japan, prior to attending the Armed Forces Staff College. While serving with the 3rd Marine Division, Lt. Gen. Williams deployed as the Logistics Officer, Contingency Marine Air Ground Task Force 3-88 during its Persian Gulf Deployment from May to December 1988.
After completing Armed Forces Staff College, he was assigned to joint duty with the Department of Defense Inspector General's Office in January 1990. In 1993/94 he attended the Industrial College of the Armed Forces. Following graduation, he assumed command of the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit (Special Operations Capable) Service Support Group from September 1994 to September 1996. Lt. Gen. Williams subsequently served as the Assistant Chief of Staff G4, 3rd Force Service Support Group. In June 1997 he departed Okinawa for duty with the 1st Force Service Support Group initially as the Assistant Chief of Staff, G3 and in 1998 as the Commanding Officer of Brigade Service Support Group 1. He returned to Okinawa, Japan in July 2000 as the Commanding General, Marine Corps Base, Camp Smedley D. Butler (July 2000 - June 2001) and as the Commanding General, 3d Force Service Support Group, III MEF, (June 2001 - Sept 2003). From October 2003 to May 2005, Lt. Gen. Williams served as the Assistant Deputy Commandant for Installations and Logistics (Facilities), Headquarters, U.S. Marine Corps prior to taking command of Marine Corps Logistics Command, Albany, Ga., June 2005 to June 2009.
Lt. Gen. Williams' personal awards and decorations include the Legion of Merit with gold star in lieu of second award, the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, the Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal, the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal, the Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, the Humanitarian Service Medal, the National Defense Service Medal and the Department of Defense Service Badge.
He holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree (Business Administration) from Stillman College, Tuscaloosa, Ala., a Master of Arts Degree (Business Administration) from National University, San Diego, Calif. and a Master of Science Degree (Strategic Resources Management) from the Industrial College of the Armed Forces, National Defense University, an Honorary Doctorate of Law from Stillman College, and an Honorary Doctorate of Philosophy from Albany State University.