Thursday, July 30, 2015
I never met Ron Williams...
I never met Ron Williams.*
I learned of him, as did thousands of others in the FBI and law enforcement, and citizens across the country, on a fateful day in June, 1975 when the media, as it is wont to do, blasted out the horrible news of the loss of two agents in a nondescript corner of South Dakota.
Learning more about him came much later through conversations with close friends and relatives and later still in an incredible video released by the Society of Former Special Agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.**
There could have been a brief moment when Ron and I may have crossed paths. We overlapped slightly as new agents and could have passed each other in the hallways at the FBI Academy in Quantico, paced each other on the running trails or even sat at the same table in the cafeteria. I'll never know.
There is a strong possibility, since we both shared a love of flying, and if the event at Jumping Bull had some how miraculously not occurred, that we would have participated together in the FBI's fledgling aviation program. Ron was a licensed pilot and enjoyed the thrill and challenge and of taking friends and family on flying adventures to share the experience he loved so much. Certainly Ron would have volunteered to become part of that program and we could have both flown on the same major cases ("Bureau Specials" as they are called) as the FBI quickly realized that aircraft and surveillances were integral components to successful investigations.
Very close and dear friends of Ron, when they all worked together in the Rapid City Resident Agency (a satellite office covering a number of SD counties and reservations out of the Minneapolis Division), gave me a box of personal items and papers they had from Ron. In the box was a little wooden toy biplane which I understood to have been Ron's from when he was a child. At the moment it's sitting on a shelf as this tribute is being typed.
I learned from another close friend that, although challenging, life and work on the Reservations was demanding, and the Bureau was always pressed to staff the larger cities with agents. It was likely that Ron's tenure in Rapid City could have ended with a voluntary transfer to his home town, Glendale, California, in the Los Angeles basin. Certainly, getting back to LA would have been fairly easy and something he apparently desired, not just to return to family and friends, but for a much wider variety of federal crimes to pursue, along with greater opportunities.
Ron, as was related as well, had plans to attend law school, which would have been a challenge while working cases in a major city, but certainly doable once he set his sights on that goal. Where he would have gone from there we don't really know, but based on what we do know, perhaps continuing in the Bureau or maybe seeking a position in a major prosecutor's office or perhaps the United States Attorney's office. Or, if we are allowed to imagine further, combining his interests and talents and maybe specializing in aviation law while continuing his flying interests. We'll never now how far that would have taken him.
Ron certainly fit the personality profile of his birth sign, a Leo; ruling warmth, generosity, faithful and always showing a great deal of initiative, combined with a handsomely charming smile and engaging personality. All of which would have taken him to untold heights and achievements.
It's difficult to look beyond and speculate on what might have been, but we can see what was, and in his short twenty-eight years Ron did leave his mark on all who touched his life.
I never met Ron Williams, but I'm sure, had I been able to, my life would have been better for it.
"In the Spirit of Coler and Williams"
*SA Ronald A. Williams, July 30, 1947 - June 26, 1975: Rest In Peace: His memory, bravery and sacrifice in-the-line-of-duty will never be forgotten.
**Meet SA Jack R. Coler and SA Ronald A.Williams here: