WARSAW — Malcolm Williams was awarded the title of Veteran of the Month at the Kosciusko County Commissioners meeting on Tuesday, Sept. 20.
Malcolm Willliams was born in Howard County on Aug. 7, 1919. When Williams was five, his mother died, leaving him and his three siblings. When his father remarried, his new wife brought three children to the marriage. The couple then had four children together, ending up with a total of 11 children.
When Williams was seven, the family moved to Swayzee, where he attended a one room schoolhouse with his siblings. He later graduated from Swayzee High School.
Williams enlisted in the Navy as an aviation cadet in June of 1942. After joining the Navy, he was a navigator of a patrol squadron flying the amphibious PBY Catalinas during the operations of U.S. naval forces against the Marshall Islands.
During one particularly severe anti-aircraft barrage, one member of the crew was wounded and the Catalina PBY was forced down into open sea off shore from a Japanese held base. After sinking the fallen PBY to avoid detection, the crew spent three days in life rafts paddling and ducking to avoid capture. During this time, another PBY was sent to rescue the nine-member crew of Williams’ plane, but it broke a wing on landing and was unable to help. There were then 18 crew members avoiding Japanese detection. The Navy sent a third PBY crew to the rescue. This one had no trouble landing, but the seas were too rough to take off. The Navy finally sent a ship to get the 27 PBY crew members.
Williams later became a Lieutenant and received his pilot’s license.
Williams left the service in 1946 and returned to Swayzee to farm with his father. He married his sweetheart Shirley in 1952. Williams became one of the largest grain and livestock farmers in Central Indiana. He continued his farming operation until retiring in 1986.
Williams and his wife purchased a home on Lake Wawasee in 1980 before they retired in 1986.
Williams is now 97, and lives in Peabody Retirement Community where his wife is in care in the memory unit. He continues to work out regularly and drives to Tippecanoe Country Club to play golf three to four times a week.