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Williams was born and raised in a country atmosphere in West Virginia. His father was in the dairy business. Williams was one of eleven children. During the 1918 flu epidemic Williams lost six of his brothers and sisters. Williams lost these family members before he was born in 1923. There was no military influence in his hometown. Most people went into the army. Joining the army to Williams meant one of two things, either you were in trouble with the law or you were too lazy to work. That was his perception of the army growing up. Williams had a few guys in his community who did not like to farm, so they decided to join the Marine Corps. The only enlistment period for the Marine Corps at the time was a six year period. The Marine Corps issued one thirty day furlough per year. The two guys who joined the Marine Corps would come back every once in awhile for their thirty day furlough and Williams remembers being very impressed with the Marines even though he never dreamed of joining the service. A lot of young men in Williams' community joined the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC). Williams joined the CCC when he was seventeen. Williams was shipped to Montana. As far as Williams was concerned he was on the moon. He was in Montana on December 7th 1941,. The CCC made a provision that you could leave if you wanted to serve in the military since it was apparent a war was imminent. Williams requested a discharge so he could go home and enlist in the Marine Corps. After his 18th birthday he went to enlist and was originally denied because he was too short. So he went back to the farm. They kept the paperwork and in early 1943 they did away with the height requirement. The recruiter looked him up and asked Williams if he wanted to join the Marine Corps and Williams said yes. Parris Island [Annotator's Note: Marine Corps Recruit Depot, Parris Island, South Carolina] was packed and they had trouble training the soldiers. Soldiers had to sleep in tent cities. Two people would be taken from each county in his home state of West Virginia. They took Williams from his county and five others from surrounding counties.
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