Williamson honored by University of Alabama

Published 12:00 am Thursday, November 3, 2005

Having a stadium filled with thousands of people applauding you is an honor usually reserved for rock stars.

However, a citizen of the Camellia City received such an accolade last Saturday in Tuscaloosa during the University of Alabama's homecoming game.

Warren Jackson &#8220Jack” Williamson, long-time Greenville lawyer and Phi Beta Kappa graduate of the U of A, was honored by the school as &#8220a distinguished alumnus and WW II hero.”

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The Pine Apple native described the ceremony as &#8220a very exciting and interesting experience.”

As a B-24 bomber pilot, Williamson flew 34 combat missions out of his base in Italy, before being shot down by the Germans in March 1945. Though the craft landed safely in Hungary with no injuries to those aboard, Russian soldiers arrested Williamson and his crew.

They remained as Russian captives until May 1945.

&#8220The worst thing of all was the fact the Russians, supposedly our allies, would not let us notify our families we were alive. My wife didn't know I was alive until June 1945,” Williamson recalled.

He was the recipient of the Silver Star, Distinguished Flying Cross, Air Medal with 3 oak leaf clusters and several other combat air medals for his military service.

Williamson was presented with a folded flag midfield during the ceremony, a flag he later gave to his great-grandson as a memento.

&#8220I have to say, things sure look different from down there on the field than from up in the stands…I've certainly never have had 83,000 people clapping for me at one time,” Williamson said.