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Silver Star Citation
Silver Star Awarded for actions during the World War II The President of the United States of America, authorized by Act of Congress, July 9, 1918, takes pleasure in presenting the Silver Star to Captain (Cavalry) William R. Bond (ASN: 0-1012727), United States Army, for gallantry in action while Commanding Company A, First Ranger Battalion, near Cisterna De Littoria, Italy, on 29 January 1944. When the First Ranger Battalion was ordered to infiltrate through the enemy lines and capture the town of Cisterna De Littoria and after traveling five miles through enemy territory, had reached a point approximately 660 yards south of the town, the enemy became alerted and directed intense rifle and machine gun fire on the raiders. Captain Bond led his company into a position facing the entrenched enemy 200 yards away, then disregarding his own safety from enemy machine gun, mortar and artillery fire, he constantly exposed himself to enemy fire in order to visit his company positions and direct their fire, and during one enemy attack on his position, he procured a rifle and destroyed fifteen of the enemy. Then upon learning that all the officers of Company F had been killed and the Battalion Commander wounded, Captain Bond continued to expose himself by visiting that portion of the line occupied by Company F in order to direct their fire and encourage their efforts. By his coolness and gallantry in continually exposing himself to withering enemy fire, Captain Bond was an inspiration to all who witnessed his actions. Captain Bond's gallant actions and selfless devotion to duty, without regard for his own safety, were in keeping with the highest traditions of military service and reflect great credit upon himself, his unit, and the United States Army. General Orders: Headquarters, U.S. Army Forces, Mediterranean Theater of Operations, General Orders No. 322 (December 24, 1945) Action Date: 29-Jan-44 Service: Army Rank: Captain Company: Company A Battalion: 1st Ranger Battalion
BG Bond was the only General Officer Killed in Action in actual ground combat in Vietnam. The other General Officers (4) that were killed in theater were killed as a result of aircraft losses due to enemy fire or accidents.
William Bond was born on December 4, 1918, in Portland, Maine. He graduated in 1940 from the University of Maryland. In 1940, after a year at law school, he enlisted in the Army and soon rose through the ranks to Staff Sergeant. He was selected to go through the Officer Candidate School at Fort Knox, Kentucky, and was commissioned a Second Lieutenant of Infantry in September 1942. He was then assigned to the 82d Airborne Division. He moved overseas with the unit and participated in the invasion of Sicily. He then volunteered for duty with "Darby's Rangers", was assigned to the First Ranger Battalion, and lead his company onto the beach just west of Salerno, Italy, in 1943.
Bond's Ranger unit was soon involved in a fierce battle to gain control of the high ground above Venafro. The Rangers dislodged the Germans and the way was then open for the Allied advance.
Next, Bond and his Rangers made the amphibious assault at Anzio on January 22, 1944. Then, on January 29-30, the entire Ranger force made its ill-fated night attack at Cisterna. The Ranger force fought on for over five hours until all ammunition was exhausted. At the time of surrender, the force had been reduced to half of its original 900 men. For Captain Bond's heroics, he was awarded the Silver Star.
Bond became a prisoner of the Germans for the next 11 months and was confined to a prisoner of war camp in Poland. When Russian forces breached the German lines in early January 1945, Bond made his escape to Soviet lines. For several weeks, Captain Bond became part of a Red Army Reconnaissance Detachment. The war soon ended and Bond returned home.
He then volunteered for duty in the Pacific and was training at Fort Benning, Georgia, when the Japanese surrendered. He was assigned to occupation duty in Korea where he began to study Asian social and cultural patterns.
In mid-1949, Bond was selected as a member of the United Nation's truce team and sent to Palestine. He proved to be a shrewd military observer and earned the respect of both his United Nations superiors and the State Department. Bond was cited for gallantry when he intervened to prevent a serious clash between Arabs and Jews just north of Jerusalem.
The Korean War began in 1950 and Bond returned to Fort Benning to attend the Advanced Infantry Course. He also helped establish Airborne Ranger Training. He remained with this program for almost a year.
Bond held many important positions before his first tour in Vietnam in 1959 as a part of the U.S. Military Assistance Advisory Group. During this period, the first Vietcong attacks occurred. Although only a middle-ranking staff officer, Bond's work was of such caliber, and his reports of combat actions so precise and penetrating, that the Commanding General elevated him to the post of Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations. Shortly after this, he took leave to the United States to wed the former Miss Theodora Sedgwick, daughter of Ellery Sedgwick, the notable editor of The Atlantic Monthly, and great-great-great granddaughter of Judge Theodore Sedgwick, fifth Speaker of the House of Representatives under John Adams. She was also related to Union General John Sedgwick (1813-1864) who was killed by a Confederate sharpshooter at Spotsylvania, Virginia.
In 1960, Colonel Bond was assigned to the Office of the Chief of Staff, U.S. Army. One of his responsibilities in this assignment was the development of an Army capability for counter-insurgency.
He was Chief of Plans and Policy and Deputy Director of Special Warfare from 1962 until the summer of 1964. Bond was awarded the Legion of Merit for his leadership in preparing the Army for counterinsurgency operations.
Colonel Bond then left the Pentagon and, in the summer of 1964, took command of the 2d Brigade, 101st Airborne Division. In January 1965, while on a field exercise, he suffered a slight heart tremor and was rushed to Walter Reed Hospital for observation and treatment. Weeks later, a medical board found Colonel Bond unfit for active duty. For most people this would have been the end, but Bond was cast from a special mold.
William Bond could not accept life without being an Infantryman. Through a complex series of appeals, he secured a probationary assignment to Thailand in 1965 where he took over the J-3 of the Military Assistance Command. In 1966, he was elevated to the post of Chief of Staff. He was enormously productive in coping with all problems. Bond was recommended for the Distinguished Service Medal for all of his efforts. He departed Thailand in 1967 where his solid performance earned him his second Legion of Merit.
Posted back to Washington in September 1967, the Army Chief of Staff selected Bond, in 1969, to organize and conduct the IX Conference of American Armies. He won the resounding praise of participants for his great contributions in Washington where he was awarded the Distinguished Service Medal. In 1970, he was nominated for promotion to Brigadier General.
General Bond was assigned to Vietnam to assume command of the 199th Light Infantry Brigade. While commander, he was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross and the Air Medal with 8 oak leaf clusters.
Fittingly, he returned to Bangkok on March 1, 1970, and was received by the Prime Minister of Thailand who awarded General Bond the Order of the Crown of Thailand, Knight Commander Grade, Medal.
General Bond returned to his command and, on April 1, 1970, elements of the 199th were involved in action with North Vietnamese regulars. General Bond, hearing of the fight, flew to the action 70 miles northeast of Saigon. He was to become the 5th U.S. General to be killed in Vietnam and the only one to be killed on the ground leading his force in battle. General Bond was 51 when he was killed by enemy fire.
SAIGON (AP) - Brig. Gen. William R. Bond, commander of the U.S. 199th Light Infantry Brigade, was killed by enemy small-arms fire Wednesday. He was the fifth American general killed in action in the Vietnam War - the previous four died in aircraft crashes. Bond, 51, of Portland, Maine, was hit in the chest by a single bullet along the southeastern edge of war zone D, about 70 miles northeast of Saigon. He died within minutes after reaching an Army field hospital. Military spokesmen said his command and control helicopter landed in the area shortly after noon. He was shot after he got out to inspect a patrol that had been in contact with Viet Cong troops during stepped-up enemy attacks.
"Apparently he had gotten out of the helicopter and was walking when he was hit," said one spokesman. "He was not very far away from the helicopter. His pilot flew him to the hospital." The spokesman said it is quite possible that Bond was hit by a sniper's bullet. Contact earlier in the day indicated enemy troops remained in the region.
Bond assumed command of the 199th Nov. 28, replacing Maj. Gen. Warren K. Bennett. He had served one previous tour in Vietnam, and had also served in Thailand. Bond had more than 26 years active duty in the Army. He was deputy director of the international and civil affairs directorate of the Department of the Army before returning to Vietnam last year. He held the Silver Star, the Legion of Merit with oak leaf, and the Purple Heart. Bond's wife was reported to be on a trip to Columbia in South America.
Bond was promoted to Brigadier General in August 1969. He was graduated from the University of Maryland with a bachelor's degree in political science and history. A graduate of the Army War College and other senior service schools, Bond held a number of key staff posts at Army headquarters during his career. He first was in Vietnam in 1959-1960, when the United States had a small advisory mission there.