Keith M Williams

Keith M Williams

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Visalia, CA, US
U.S. Army
07/24/2014, KANDAHAR, Afghanistan

The service commemorating the life of 19-year old United States Army PFC Keith Michael Williams was held at El Diamante High School August 9, 2014 in Visalia, CA. Keith attended Crestwood Elementary, Royal Oaks and Linwood Elementary, La Joya Middle school and graduated in 2011 from El Diamante High School.  He participated in football, Drum Line, El Diamante Link Crew, and was part of the Homecoming Court 2013.

Keith was a SCICON camp counselor and an ASA softball umpire. He liked dove hunting, attending pow-wows, and just about any sport that kept him active including long boarding, snowboarding, skiing, and surfing. Keith loved listening to music and hanging out with his best friend Martin Sustaita.  PFC Williams’s choice to join the US Army upheld a long tradition of service in his family.

After arriving home from work Frank Williams, PFC Williams’s father heard the news that has changed his life forever.

“I saw these two uniformed officers get out of their car and walk over. I thought they were going into the neighbors but when they walked across the street into my yard I knew what it was,” he explained. “I felt that sick, sad feeling in the pit of my stomach. I knew what it was.”
Williams’ family came together just a day after learning Keith was killed.

“Death brings families together, and weddings bring families together, and we’ll never see that wedding, but we have to grieve for our boy,” said Frank Williams.

The 2013 El Diamante High School graduate enlisted in the Army shortly after high school. It was an option that Keith hoped would help him eventually go into law enforcement. One of his two older sisters described her brother as the class clown who always made them laugh.

“It’s killing me inside, to know that I won’t be able to see this kid who made me laugh so hard,” according to Chelsea Williams .
“Then when it’s my time I’ll go be with him and I’ll see his beautiful face, and he was such a handsome boy, too,” Debbie Tuttle, Williams’s mother added.

Most of all, though, his family is proud that he put everything he had into being an American soldier.

Keith’s portrait is not yet on a poster


One Response to “Keith M Williams”
  1. Debbie (Keiths Ma) says:

    I am so grateful to have this picture of Keith that captures his pride in being a part of something bigger than himself and his big smile.
    PFC Keith M Williams was the youngest of 3 children of Debbie and Frankie Williams. Keith was only six years old when 9-11 occurred but in the years that followed, he was drawn to military service by a strong sense of patriotism and he followed a family tradition of military service behind his father who served in the US Navy for 20 years and his Grandfathers who both served in the military (one in the US Army and one in the Royal New Zealand Army, with a dozen other relatives including Uncles, Aunts, and cousins who served and who currently are serving in various branches of the US Military, and in the New Zealand and Australian Army.
    He graduated from El Diamante High School in Visalia, CA in June 2013 and enlisted in the United States Army 11B, graduating from Basic Training at Fort Benning in December 2013 from the 198th IB, 2 -54th, Charlie Co, 4th Platoon, Red Co. Mavericks. His duty station was 4th ID, 1-12th Infantry, Dog Company Red Warriors, Fort Carson, CO when he was deployed to Kandahar, Afghanistan in March 2014. On July 24th, 2014 while on a mission near Mirugol Kalay, Keith who was a M249 SAW Gunner and was the driver of the lead vehicle, was mortally wounded after his vehicle was hit by an IED. SSgt Benjamin Prange who was in the seat next to him was killed instantly and three other battle buddies were wounded but survived. Keith was airlifted and life saving attempts were made at the Role 3 Multinational Hospital in Kandahar, Afghanistan but Keith was pronounced dead with a Chaplain from his unit holding his hand. He was just 19 years old.
    His awards and decorations include the Bronze Star Medal, Purple Heart, Army Commendation Medal, Army Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Afghanistan Campaign Medal with Bronze Service Star, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Army Service Ribbon, Overseas Service Ribbon, NATO Medal, and Combat Infantryman Badge.
    Keith was a native American of the Yokut tribe from the Tule River and participated in Pow Wows and Sweat Lodge ceremonies. In High School, Keith was a bright, easy going kid who participated in Band, Drum Line, Football, Link Crew to assist incoming Freshmen, and he was a member of the Homecoming Court in his Senior Year. Keith enjoyed being in motion and was an avid skateboarder, surfer and snowboarder. He loved all types of music, was an extremely talented musician and was self taught in Piano and loved the drums. He loved to sing aloud but was a terrible singer. He was a junk food junkie and was well known for having the most snack food at all times.
    Keith was a regular American Kid who appreciated the freedoms that were made possible by those who sacrificed before him. He knew Freedom was not free and he wrote this on the back of his basic training picture. The proudest day of Keith’s life is when he marched off the field….as a UNITED STATES ARMY INFANTRYMAN, willing to die for his battle buddies and his country…….May his sacrifice and those who have gone before him and those that will follow ….NEVER BE FORGOTTEN. Well done good and faithful servant.

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