William Walker McConnell

Fallen Hero’s Hometown and State: Sonoma, CA

Branch of Service: United States Army

Rank: Specialist Fifth Class

Specialist Fifth Class William Walker McConnell was drafted, became a combat medic, and volunteered to be a paratrooper. He was initially assigned to the 82nd Airborne Division. In the summer of 1967, he transferred to the 1/501st Infantry, 101st Airborne Division before being deployed to Vietnam on December 13, 1967, with 10,000 other paratroopers. He was made Senior Medic while in Vietnam.

William’s fellow medics called him “Old Man McConnell” because they were all 17 to 20 years of age and he was 26. He was set to rotate out of Vietnam at the end of March 1968. Because he was a Senior Medic, he was not assigned to an infantry platoon. Despite that, he chose to go out and assist with bringing in causalities and was killed in action.

William was funny, witty, and genuinely nice. His best friend and fellow medic, Gary, recalls, “We were all going to serve 12 months and rotate out of Vietnam in December 1968. William said he would be waiting for all of us in December in a Cadillac convertible filled with beautiful girls at San Francisco Airport. I am sure everyone pictured him there the day they returned home.”

Age: 26

Date of Death: March 14, 1968

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