Quantico Marine Corps Base in Stafford County, Virginia — The American South (Mid-Atlantic)
William Groom Leftwich, Jr.
William Groom Leftwich, Jr.
Lieutenant Colonel, U. S. Marine Corps
Born Memphis, Tennessee, 28 April 1931
Graduated U. S. Naval Academy 5 June 1953
Killed in Action, Vietnam, 18 November 1970
Remembered for his Leadership, Tactical Skill, Bold Fighting Spirit, and Unflagging Devotion to Duty...
Felix de Weldon, Sculptor 1985
Erected 1985 by H. Ross Perot.
Location. 38° 29.955′ N, 77° 26.341′ W. Marker is in Quantico Marine Corps Base, Virginia, in Stafford County. Marker is on Tripoli Avenue 0 miles from Belleau Avenue. Click for map. Marker is located in front of the The Basic School Headquarters, Camp Barrett, Quantico Marine Corps Base. Marker is in this post office area: Quantico VA 22134, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Heywood Hall (a few steps from this marker); 6th Marine Division Medal of Honor Recipients (within shouting distance of this marker); 13th Special Basic Course (1952) (within shouting distance of this marker); Gonzalez Hall (within shouting distance of this marker); First Special Basic Class (within shouting distance of this marker); Quantico Marine Athletes of the Sixties (within shouting distance of this marker); 5th Special Basic Class (within shouting distance of this marker); Basic School Class of 2-1965 (within shouting distance of this marker). Click for a list of all markers in Quantico Marine Corps Base.
Regarding William Groom Leftwich, Jr..
Lieutenant Colonel William G. Leftwich, Jr., was commissioned a Marine Second Lieutenant on June 5, 1953, upon graduation from the United States Naval Academy. As Brigade Captain during his senior year at the Naval Academy, he was commended at graduation for exemplary officer-like qualities, which contributed… “to the development of naval spirit and loyalty within the Brigade.”
Lieutenant Colonel Leftwich completed The Basic School in January 1954, and later served as a rifle platoon commander with the 2dMarine Division at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. During 1955-56 he served with the 3d Marine Division in Okinawa. On his return to the United States, he was stationed at Camp Pendleton, California, where he was promoted to Captain in July 1957. He began a 3-year assignment at the Naval Academy, serving as a company officer. An excellent athlete, he performed collateral duties as assistant varsity tennis coach and battalion football coach.
In 1960, he rejoined the 2d Marine Division, serving as a company commander until 1962, when he was named aide-de-camp to the Commanding General. In June 1963, he was assigned as aide to the Commandant, Marine Corps Schools, Quantico, Virginia. He reported for duty in Vietnam in January 1965, as Assistant Senior Advisor to
Lieutenant Colonel Leftwich participated in 27 major operations against the Viet Cong in the central highlands of Vietnam, and spent more than 300 days in the field. He was wounded in the battle of Hoai An, March 9, 1965, and in addition to receiving the Purple Heart, was awarded the Navy Cross for extraordinary heroism. According to his citation, he “…played a major part in all phases of the successful relief of the village of Hoai An which was under heavy enemy attack by two Viet Cong battalions…. By his own personal example…, he led the attack…. Despite injuries by enemy machine gun bullets in the back, cheek, and nose, he went to the aid of a mortally wounded comrade… and delayed his own evacuation until he could call for additional air strikes and brief the task force commander of the situation.”
Upon his return to the United States in January 1966, he served as an instructor at The Basic School. He completed the Command and Staff College in June 1967, and was named to the school’s honor list. Assigned to Headquarters, U.S. Marine Corps, he was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel in November 1967, while serving as a systems analyst with the Manpower Management Information Branch, G-1 Division.
In 1968, Lieutenant Colonel Leftwich was selected by the Under Secretary of the Navy to be his special assistant and
In April 1970, he began his second tour of duty in Vietnam, serving initially as an infantry battalion commander with the 2d Battalion, 1st Marines. On June 30, he assumed duty as the Commanding Officer of the 1st Reconnaissance Battalion, 1st Marine Division (Reinforced).
On November 18, 1970, Lieutenant Colonel Leftwich was, per his practice of accompanying every emergency extraction called for by his reconnaissance teams, serving as senior “extract officer” for such a mission on the day of his death. The team had incurred casualties and requested an emergency extraction from enemy-infested territory, in an area being enveloped by dense fog. The team was extracted under Lieutenant Colonel Leftwich’s personal supervision. As the helicopter began it’s ascent, it crashed into a mountainside in enemy territory, killing all aboard.
Lieutenant Colonel Leftwich’s medals and awards include: the Navy Cross, the Silver Star (posthumous), the Legion of Merit with Combat “V” and two gold stars, the Meritorious Service Medal, the Air Medal with one gold star, the Purple Heart with two gold stars, and various personal awards from the Republic of Vietnam.
Also see . . .
1. Previous Winners of the Leftwich Trophy for Outstanding Leadership.
2. The 2005 Leftwich Trophy. For the first time in the history of the award, the 2005 award was presented posthumously. Captain John W. Maloney died in combat operations in Iraq after being recommended for the award.
3. USS Leftwich (DD 984). The USS LEFTWICH was the first ship in the Navy named after Marine Corps Lieutenant Colonel William G. Leftwich, Jr.
1. The Leftwich Trophy
In June 1979, at the commissioning ceremony for the USS Leftwich, the Marine Corps awarded the very first Leftwich Trophy for Outstanding Leadership. Named in honor of Lieutenant Colonel William G. Leftwich, Jr., who was killed in Vietnam, this trophy is presented annually to an outstanding company grade Marine officer serving with the ground forces of the Fleet Marine Force at the time of nomination. The award, like the statue here, was made possible through the bequest of Mr. H. Ross Perot. Mr. Perot conceived the idea for the trophy and commissioned Mr. Felix DeWeldon to sculpt the original statue. LtCol Leftwich and Mr. Perot were classmates at the U.S. Naval Academy.
The Leftwich Trophy, a miniature of this statue, is provided to the Marine Corps through an endowment by the H. Ross Perot Foundation.
Categories. • Patriots & Patriotism • War, Vietnam •
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