Colonel Bill Dabney, USMC, Ret. passed away this morning at 0200. He was a Navy Cross recipient for his heroism as a company commander at a place called Khe Sanh during the Vietnam war. He was the son-in-law of General Chesty Puller and husband of his loving wife, Virginia. America has lost a real hero.
From VMI Archives:
Vietnam War/Marines Corps Oral History.
William H. Dabney Interview
Read the interview transcript
Collection Summary: COL William H. Dabney enlisted in the USMC in 1954, serving at Parris Island, 1954 and 3d Marine Division, Japan, 1955/57, and was discharged in 1957 (sergeant - radio repair). He enlisted USMCR in Lynchburg, VA, in 1957, serving as platoon sergeant of the 100th Rifle Company, discharged in 1960 (staff sergeant). COL Dabney commissioned with the USMC in 1960. He served as platoon leader and rifle company commander for the 2d Marine Division, Camp Lejeune, NC/Caribbean/Mediterranean, from 1961 to 1963. He served as guard officer, Marine Barracks, Rota, Spain, from 1964 – 1967 as lieutenant/captain. During the Vietnam War, from 1967 to 1968, COL Dabney served as rifle company commander (Vietnam (DMZ)); Officer-in-Charge, regimental combat outpost (Hill 881S, Khe Sanh), earning the Navy Cross, Silver Star, Bronze Star and Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry. He served also as Headquarters USMC staff in 1969 (captain, major). From 1970 to 1971, he served as Senior Advisor, Vietnamese Marine infantry battalion, DMZ/Khe Sanh, Vietnam, earning the Bronze Star, Navy Commendation Medal (2), Purple Heart, and the Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry (major). From 1972 – 1974, COL Dabney served at the Pentagon on the staff of the Secretary of the Navy, from 1975 – 1976 as Commanding Officer of student officer companies, Officer’s Basic School, Quantico, VA and from 1977 – 1978 as G-4 Operations Officer, 1st Marine Division (major). From 1978 – 1979, he served as Commanding Officer, 1st Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment at Camp Pendleton, CA/Panama, R.P., from 1980 – 1981 as Chief, Combat Operations Center, at National Emergency Airborne Command Post, Offut AFB, NE, earning the Defense Meritorious Service Medal (lieutenant colonel). COL Dabney went on in 1983 to serve as Commanding Officer, 9th Marine Regiment, in Japan/Philippines, as Commander, Camp Hansen, in Japan, and as Commanding Officer, Headquarters Battalion, Headquarters, Marine Corps/ Henderson Hall, from 1984 to 1987, earning the Legion of Merit. Subsequently he served as Senior Fellow at the Strategic Defense Studies Center at Ft. McNair, Washington, DC, in 1987, earning the Defense Meritorious Service Medal (colonel). COL Dabney concluded his military career serving as Commanding Officer of the NROTC Unit at VMI from 1987 to 1990 and as Commandant of the VMI Corps of Cadets from 1989 to 1990. He retired on June 30, 1990, after 36 years of service (33 active). This interview covers much of his military career and includes extensive information about his service in the Vietnam War as well as his memories of General Lewis B. Puller.
Service Branch: U.S. Marine Corps
Areas/Topics/Events: Vietnam War
Dates covered: 1954-1990