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Old 29 May 2019, 18:36
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RIP Bill Dawson

DAWSON WILLIAM L. DAWSON "Bill" (Age 94) William L. Dawson, U.S. Navy veteran WWII and retired Firefighter of Washington D.C. Fire Department passed away peacefully at his home in Waldorf, Maryland on May 13, 2019. He was 94 years old. William L. Dawson was born April 18, 1925 in Washington, D.C. Bill attended Chamberlin H.S. in S.E. and worked at the Washington Navy Yard as a young teenager. It was at the Washington Navy Yard, December 7, 1941 at the young age of 17, where Bill made the decision to join the war effort of WWII.

Bill was among 42 Navy men chosen and assigned to Ft. Pierce, Florida that made up a small amphibious unit called The Naval Combat Demolition Unit, later referred to as Frogmen. These men formed the first class of NCDU and underwent intense training at Ft. Pierce, Florida. Bill Dawson and his fellow Frogmen were tasked with clearing the beaches for General MacArthur's island-hopping campaign northward through the western Pacific towards his return to the Philippines. From 1943 to 1945 Bill and his small team of Frogmen made 12 invasions in the Pacific theater, from NewGuinea, through the Philippines to Borneo.

After his discharge from the Navy, Bill longed for a job that resembled the excitement and brotherhood of his Navy days. He found this career with the D.C. Fire Department. Bill served with the D.C.F.D. Engine 8, from 1949 until his retirement in 1971. In 2015, with the help of Commander Tom Hawkins, USN. Ret., and good friend Lisa Merriam, Bill authored a book entitled, "Before They Were SEALs, They Were Frogs". Through the course of several decades, Bill faithfully attended annual SEAL musters and reunions at Ft. Pierce, FL and Virginia Beach, VA, along with monthly D.C.F.D. retirement luncheons.

His wife Eva who passed away in 2013 and one stepdaughter Barbra who passed in 2006 preceded Bill in death. Also preceded in death are his father William A. Dawson, mother Elizabeth Howard Dawson, and sister Ruth. Four remaining stepchildren, grandchildren and great grandchildren survive Bill along with several nieces and nephews. Bill led a life of service in both wartime and peacetime. His small team of "Naked Warriors" paved the way for future Frogmen and they left a wake of history and legacy at the stern. Bill enjoyed God's beauty in everything, and he enjoyed all that life had to offer. He struggled with life issues but at the end of the day, he found his peace with God. It is only fitting to close his obituary with the final words penned from his book. "I am blessed to have had the opportunity to stand next to the greatest of men and to call them friends and brothers.

Though my time with the Navy was short, it cast a long, bright glow over my whole life. The Navy SEAL Ethos talks about being "forged by adversity". I know we had plenty of that. Yet, adversity is not what endures in my heart. For me, what endures is the legacy of my teammates, the character and honor of good men whom I came to know well and to trust to the ends of the earth. They have steadied me in the worst moments, and our life long bond will sustain me to my final day". William "Bill" Dawson. ...Rest in peace Frogman......Rest in peace Frogman...

Published in The Washington Post on May 25, 2019

Last edited by The Fat Guy; 30 May 2019 at 00:08. Reason: Added some paragraphs
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Old 30 May 2019, 10:41
d322 d322 is offline
Been There Done That
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: Eastern Tennessee
Posts: 410
RIP Brother
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Old 27 April 2020, 15:08
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Just wanted to update anyone who may be interested. Bill’s funeral service is scheduled for 1300 hours, 6 May 2020 at Arlington National Cemetery.
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