Darrell E. Williams
Biography: Darrell Elwood Williams was born on October 7, 1921, in Farr West, Utah. He was the son of Robert Todd Williams and Blanch Ursula Taylor and attended Mound Fort School, later graduating from Ogden High School. He then went to work as a truck driver in the coal industry and later as a clerk, and/or typist, for the Ogden Canning Factory .
On July 15, 1942, Darrell married the former Elaine Berrett who was born in North Ogden, UT, and was the daughter of William Alfred Berrett and Hannah Hendrickson. The new couple would make their home in North Ogden.
The following information relating to Darrell’s military service time was provided by the Williams family.
Service Time: Darrell received his order to report for induction from the President of the United States, on February 15, 1943. In March, Darrell received this notice: “You are hereby notified, that you have now been selected for training and service in the Land or Naval Forces and will leave for 179 Motor Avenue, Salt Lake City, Utah, at 7:00 A. M. on March 3, 1943 via the Bamberger Railroad.” Darrell said goodbye to his wife, Elaine, whom he married only eight months earlier and was headed to parts unknown and uncertain if he would ever see Elaine again.
Darrell entered active duty on March 10, 1943, and fourteen days later, he arrived at Camp Bowie, Texas. On the 13th, the 651st Tank Destroyer Battalion was activated at Camp Bowie. Pvt Williams was assigned to A Company, Headquarters Platoon. The following two months were spent getting acquainted with their tank destroyers and preparing for maneuvers along with range work, dismounted drills and training films. Three months later, Darrell was promoted to Corporal and became a clerk typist of operations. In November, the 651st was moved to Shreveport, Louisiana, where the battalion began its advanced training. The weather was wet, and the terrain was muddy during the training, which continued for the next three months. At some point during his training, he qualified as a Marksman with both the rifle and carbine.
In January 1944, the 651st was on the move again, this time they ended up in Brownwood Texas. During the next eight months, the battalion began to settle in more as an active unit. The men could have more free time and Darrell even found a way for his wife, Elaine, to come and visit with him for a couple of weeks. This made the military a little more bearable.
On June 6, 1944, the Battalion received word that D-day had begun, which made everyone uneasy, and the training began to intensify. The men thought the battalion would be called up any day but no such luck, or maybe it was luck that the battalion continued its stay at Brownwood, Texas, until the end of September, 1944. Earlier in August, Darrell was promoted to Technician 4th Grade and became the general clerk for the battalion. In September he and the 651st were transferred to Fort McPherson, Georgia, where they continued their training as the war continued overseas. The weather was cold and made it difficult for the men to keep their minds on the training. They were thinking of home, their wives and families and the upcoming Christmas season. The battalion was still unsure of its role as a fighting unit. They had an excellent rating on their platoon combat firing and tactical proficiency test. Still no word as to when or if the battalion would be shipping overseas.
As luck would have it, on December 1, 1944, the order came and by Christmas, the battalion found itself in England. Darrell was again promoted, to Staff Sergeant, after arriving in England and he was assigned to H & S Co. 343 Engineers General Service Regiment as a supply NCO (Non-Commissioned Officer). During the first week of April, 1945, Darrell’s unit arrived in France and by April 12th, he found himself in Germany. During this time, Darrell was given the task of locating and disposing of vast quantities of enemy engineer materials. Instead, Darrell found a way to have the materials and supplies diverted to the U.S. troops. His initiative in obtaining the needed supplies contributed materially to the success of the U.S. troops in Rheinprovinz, the first area to be occupied and governed by allied troops in Germany. For this effort, Darrell received the Bronze Star and the Army Commendation Ribbon.
The photo at left is Darrell receiving his Bronze Star from Major General Frank W. Milburn, seen on the left.
Darrell was also promoted to Technical Sergeant and became the Operations NCO. He spent eleven more months in Germany, with assignments in Idar Oberstein, the Command Post for the 23rd Corps, and also Bad Wildungen. In February 1946, he was assigned to Co. B 278 Engineers C. Bn., which was stationed in Brasselsberg Germany. He continued his assignment until March 10, 1946, and his efforts during this period were also acknowledged by the award of the Army Commendation Ribbon.
He was released to return home and left the European Theater on March 30th and arriving back in the U.S. on April 8th. He then traveled to Fort Douglas, Utah, where he completed the needed paperwork and was separated from active duty on April 15, 1946, with an honorable discharge. In addition to the Bronze Star Medal and Army Commendation Ribbon, he also received the American Theater Ribbon, the EAME Ribbon, the WWII Victory Ribbon and the Good Conduct Ribbon.
After returning home to North Ogden and to Elaine, Darrell continued his education by attending Weber College in Ogden for 2 years. He then went to work for the college in their cashier’s office. After a few years, he moved to the Stores Department and later became the manager of the Printing Department for the college. In total, Darrell worked 32 years for the institution.
The photo above left is Darrell in his 40s, while the photo on the right is Darrell in his later 50s.
Darrell and Elaine would have three children, Jeffrey, born in 1947, Rick in 1949 and Shanna in 1950. In addition to his work for the college, he also worked for the Utah-Idaho Railroad, for Pacific Finance, and the Madsen Furniture Company as their Credit Manager. In his spare time, Darrell enjoyed hunting, fishing and gardening. He also found time to volunteer for the Civil Air Patrol and as a Scout Master.
Darrell passed away on December 14, 1983, and was buried in the Ben Lomond Cemetery, North Ogden, UT. I want to thank Darrell’s son, Jeff, for providing the information and photos of his father.