BILLS, RUFUS WILSON
BILLS, RUFUS WILSON
Rank / Branch:
SFC E-7 U.S. ARMY
Date of Birth:
Awards & Decorations:
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RUFUS WILSON BILLS, SERGEANT FIRST CLASS, U.S. ARMY, SWEETWATER, NOLAN COUNTY, TEXAS
AWARDS AND DECORATIONS
Combat Infantryman’s Badge with Star, Silver Star, Bronze Star Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster, Purple Heart with Oak Leaf Cluster, Army Commendation’s Medal with oak leaf cluster, Good Conduct Medal with Four Knots, National Defense Service Medal with Star, Humane Service Medal, Army of Occupation Service Medal (World War II)-Japan, Korean Service Medal with 3 Campaign Stars, United Nation’s Expeditionary Medal, Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal (Korea), Vietnam Service Medal with 3 campaign stars, Vietnam Military Merit Medal, Vietnam Honor Medal, Vietnam Wound Medal (serving as advisor to ARVN), Vietnam Campaign Medal.
Rufus Wilson was born in Sweetwater, Texas. He preferred his middle name, Wilson or his nickname of Bill. He was the youngest of the three children with an older sister, Ruth and a older brother, Cecil, born to Rufus and Linnie Bills. He attended Sweetwater schools to include Newman High School, now known as Sweetwater High School. He was a 1950 graduate of Newman High School. He joined the Army after high school in 1950 and after his initial training, he was assigned to G Company, 8th Cavalry Regiment, First Cavalry Division in Korea. The 8th Cavalry had been mobilized into Korea and were involved in serious fighting for most of the war. He suffered a gunshot wound on June 8, 1951 as the North Korean Army were driven back into North Korea. He earned his first purple heart and first award of the CIB. He was returned to duty in the Eastern Theatre.
Wilson decided to make the Army his career and re-enlisted in 1953, after the Korean War armistice was signed. He served in Japan and in various stateside posts and was in Germany in 1959-61 when he met his wife, the former Gisela Muenzer of Karlsruhe, Upper Rhineland Valley, Germany. She came to the states to see her sister in California and she and Wilson married in his sister's home in Odessa in 1961. He, then returned to Germany to participate in the Berlin lift. He arrived back in the states one week before the birth of his daughter. On May 22, 1962, Karen Linn was born in Sweetwater. He was then assigned to Fort Lewis, Washington and the family moved to Tacoma. A daughter, Sharon Ruth was born on March 15, 1963 at Madigan General Hospital, a joint Army-Air Force Hospital near Fort Lewis, Washington. The family remained posted at Fort Lewis until 1964 when he started a tour in Korea, where he remained until late 1965. He, then returned to Germany. Because of the escalation of the fighting in South Vietnam, his Germany tour was cut short and he began his tour in Vietnam on September 27, 1966.
Family in Germany-1965
He was assigned as a military advisor with Team 75, Military Assistance Command (MACV). This team was operating primarily in the Delta Region of South Vietnam advising and operating with South Vietnamese troops. He was killed in hostile action on August 3, 1967, six weeks before completing his tour. He was posthumoulsy awarded a Silver Star and his second purple heart. The Vietnamese Government awarded him a Military Merit Medal, Vietnam Wound Medal and Vietnam Honor Medal, 2nd Class.
He was buried with full military honors in the Sweetwater City Cemetery. He was survived by his wife Gisela, his daughters, Sharon and Karen, his mother, Linnie, his sister, Ruth and his brother, Cecil. Gisela never re-married and worked for Texas State Technological College as an administrative assistant until her death in September, 2008. She is now buried next to Wilson. Sharon and Karen both graduated from Sweetwater High School. Karen graduated from Angelo State University and is married to Scott Clemmons and they are the parents of a daughter, Bobbi Linn and a son, Chase Wilson. Sharon graduated from Texas Tech University and is unmarried and both daughters live in the Dallas area. His brother, Cecil passed away in 2010 and is buried in the Sweetwater Cemetery. His mother passed away in 1984 and his sister Ruth Dooly passed away in 2001 in Big Spring and is buried in Sweetwater, next to her parents.
Sweetwater Cemetery, Sweetwater, Texas