Lt. Col. William Friedman (Ret.)
Lt. Col. (Retired) William Friedman was born in Manhattan and received his Army Reserve Commission in 1938 and later his Regular Army Commission in 1942. LTC Friedman’s twenty-two years of Active Duty span a broad range of assignments. During World War II, he was assigned to the Heavy Weapons Company and the Battalion Staff of the 1st Battalion, 16th Infantry Regiment, 1st Infantry Division (a famous outfit known as “The Big Red One”). He later commanded the regiment’s Headquarters and Headquarters Company and went on to serve as the Regimental Personnel Officer (S-1) and then the Battalion Operations Officer. During the war, LTC Friedman participated in the assault landings in North Africa and Sicily in 1943 and at Normandy in 1944.
In 1949, he worked for Col. William Harris as his Assistant Operations Officer in the 17th Airborne Division, a training regiment. When Col. Harris was assigned to the 65th Inf. Regt., Harris requested Friedman to be his Operations Officer (S-3). LTC Friedman left his pregnant wife, Oronine, in Puerto Rico and sailed with the Hispanic regiment for Korea in August 1950 at the start of the Korean War. “The men of the 65th were tough, physically strong, and long-enduring,” he later recalled. “I don’t recall many other units with which I came into contact during World War II that were more so.” During the war, LTC Friedman went on to become the Battalion Executive Officer of the regiment’s 3rd Battalion. After covering the Evacuation of Hungnam and helping to save the 1st Marine Division, the last troops of the 65th boarded a ship to Pusan on Christmas Eve when LTC Friedman received a message that his son had been born. He left the 65th Infantry in February 1951 to serve as the Assistant Operations Officer and then the Operations Officer (G-3) of the 3rd Infantry Division. After the war, he served as the Chief of the Special Weapons Branch, Allied Land Forces Southern Europe, followed by two tours on the Army General Staff in the Pentagon in the Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations. He then went on to complete two tours, including one as Chief, at the European Command in the NATO Division.
His decorations and awards include, amongst others, the Silver Star with Oak Leaf Cluster, the Bronze Star with three Oak Leaf Clusters and the Purple Heart.
On August 19, 2002, LTC Friedman died after a difficult battle with cancer at the age of 85. A service with full military honors will take place on September 26, 2002 at 11:00 a.m. at the Old Post Chapel in Ft. Myers, Virginia and the burial will follow at Arlington Cemetery. May he rest in peace. We will miss him dearly!
Written by Col. Gilberto Villahermosa