Major Kenneth P Williams (USMCR – ret.), a founding Director of the Alexandrian Defense Group, moved on to his Heavenly reward this November last and, in so doing, left behind him a legacy that suggests Heaven got the better bargain. For, Ken’s contributions to the USMC and to the business community were more than matched by his sense of being a good citizen, via the means of several Civic organizations he volunteered for and contributed to; one may consider the following titles as accolades in this regard:
Ken was President of the Kiwanis Club of Dalton, one of Georgia’s most active clubs with a membership of 147; he also became the Lt. Governor for the Kiwanis District of Georgia. In addition to these important Kiwanis roles, Ken had also been the Chairman of the Georgia State Kiwanis Convention and Chairman of Georgia’s Kiwanis International Committee. The man’s capabilities in leadership roles stretched well beyond Kiwanis though as he was also the Chairman for the Transportation Committee for Dalton/Whitfield County Chamber of Commerce wherein he worked closely with the Chattanooga Airport Authority, the Georgia Department of Transportation and the Rapid Rail Project. Not content to rest on such civic laurels – Ken also found the time to become Chairman of the Georgia Sheriff’s Cherokee Estates – Girls’ Home. In addition to this, he acted as the Chairman for the Dalton Heart Association Drive and President of the local Toastmasters. I would be negligent if I did not mention the fact that he made himself available as a frequent guest speaker for a variety of clubs and charities, such as Rotary, Lions Club, Optimist Club, etc.
Ken’s Christian faith, had seen much trial and tribulation over the years, from the nadir of being an eye-witness to the violent death of fellow-men in close combat to the apex of business success and yet, as true faith should, his only grew stronger over time and after a great deal of trial by fire; accordingly, until his physical life’s end, Ken remained a devout Roman Catholic Christian. While earthly treasures came and went, as they must, Ken’s life-time building toward an everlasting reward was most discernible in his kindness toward others and, as irony would have it for a combat veteran, his palpable loathing of the loss of any human life. In our many discussions concerning the Civil War, as Ken was a serious student of that much debated conflict, he always made note of the black man’s terrible predicament while nimbly being able to argue the cause of State’s rights over Federal dictates! He was, of course, correct but the marvelous thing was that his kindness for the disadvantaged, both past and present, was always manifest. In short, he made certain that the Light that Christ had lit in his soul was in no way absent in his thoughts and deeds. Ken was a long-time member of St. Brendan’s Catholic Church.
I first ‘met’ Ken when he enrolled as a senior graduate-level student at AMU back in 2007 and I took a keen interest in him from the very outset as his writing was exceptional. The man’s love and command of the English language, including that of the early Chaucerian type, was deep- set and was further manifested by the fact that he acquired a contract with a prestigious academic publisher, Praeger Greenwood, for the purpose of delivering a book on modern Korea’s military history. Locally, Ken had been a member of the Long Ridge Writer’s Group and had worked with writers and instructors who had inspired his work tremendously.
Over time, and through a number of courses Ken took with me at AMU, I became aware of the man’s superior discernment with regard to military history and analysis. At the very outset of our joint-endeavors, I had been introduced to the fact that, as a Vietnam combat veteran (he had been up on The McNamara Line), Ken had some serious life experience behind him. It was not until later that I learned he had been forced to fight many other battles, on the health front, ever since he had come home. A smashed ankle had led to a multiplicity of health issues that just kept compounding for Ken over the years and eventually this included the amputation of his damaged leg. His ability to keep pushing forward while suffering some of the most daunting physical setbacks was an inspiration to those who knew him.
Against this background, Ken shared my early vision of creating an online think-tank and journal of the highest caliber. It was Ken who proposed the name Alexandrian, inspired by the famous library of the same name. Ken envisioned ADG as a substantial repository for knowledge of insurgency, counter-insurgency, terror and all small-wars in general. Together, over many hours of discussion, Ken and I worked out the foundations for ADG; accordingly, all other ADG members including myself remain in his debt for his substantial contributions.
The actual date of Ken’s passing from this world was November, 23, 2010. Ken is survived by Margo – his loving wife of 38 years and his daughter, Kelli. Kelli is married to Scott Tolbert and together they have brought a son, Brandon, into the world. Before his passing, Ken was made aware of the fact that there was a grandson on the way and, naturally, was immensely proud.