In thirty-four days, only a month, Ron would have celebrated his 28th birthday.
His young and vibrant life to that point was a celebration of his intelligence, charm, personality and admirable accomplishments. Already having served his country in the U.S. Navy, completing college and embarking on a challenging career in the nation’s premier law-enforcement agency. His future was a clean slate; doors yet to open and adventures discovered, limitless ambitions and opportunities and a host of close friends and family to share it all.
We can only speculate or imagine what the next thirty-nine years would have given him. He had ambitions. Ron had entertained pursuing a law degree but it is not clear whether he would have tried to tackle such an enterprise while remaining in the Bureau, or stepping down to pursue it full time.
His time in the Rapid City Resident Agency (RCRA), an assignment typically reserved for those with prior law enforcement experience, like his partner that day, former LAPD Swat member, Jack Coler, was challenging; a far cry from his previous experience and his hometown of the metropolis of Los Angeles. Although the Bureau was increasing the agent compliment of the RCRA to combat the rising turmoil caused by the American Indian Movement, Ron faced those challenges as the consummate young professional agent all knew him to be.
Ron loved flying and had already earned a pilot’s license. The FBI’s aviation program did not formally exist when he entered the Bureau but by the mid 70s where aircraft were used in several major investigations, the opportunity to become a Bureau pilot was certainly a possibility where he could have combined both passions.
Having come from a major city, the possibility of transferring back to L.A., where family and other friends resided, was a good possibility. After serving his time in Indian Country working difficult cases in remote areas, Los Angeles could have been within reach.
Had he returned to L.A., pursued a law degree, perhaps then active in the Bureau’s rapidly growing aviation program, he may have sought to combine those skills and experiences. Perhaps as an experienced investigator, an attorney and a pilot, the National Transportation Safety Board may have been an interesting and challenging career option, or perhaps a legal practice involving airline litigation. We’ll never know.
By now, at age 67 he would no doubt have a family, and perhaps retired from whatever path he chose, as he doted over grandchildren sharing with them career exploits and accomplishments, introducing them to his passion for flying, taking them on flying vacations or out for an afternoon to a not-too-distant airport for one of those famous $50 hamburgers (today they would be more like $300 hamburgers). In any case he would have lived, loved and shared a long, productive and happy life, even if there were a few bumps in the road.
But all that potential and dreams of the future ended on a sultry day in June 1975.
He faced the danger, the enemy, as a young man with the courage and strength of his already proven character. However, the odds were overwhelming and insurmountable.
Undaunted and unafraid Ron and Jack pursued their fugitive felon, only to be ambushed by AIM cowards and severely wounded. Nonetheless, the evidence is crystal clear; he went first to the aid of his gravely injured partner.
His sacrifice is our loss. May he Rest-in-Peace knowing that he will never be forgotten.
We can take solace knowing that every agent and every man and woman who carries a badge and a gun and is willing to place themselves in harm's way to protect the citizenry and enforce the laws of this Nation have a guardian angel looking over their shoulder. His name is Special Agent Ronald A. Williams.
“In the Spirit of Coler and Williams”Ed Woods