Spc. Orlando Williams was a military brat.

He was born in North Carolina, but his father — who retired as a sergeant first class after 22 years of service in the Army — spent the majority of his son’s life stationed at Fort Hood, so Williams grew up in Killeen.

The 21-year-old graduated from Shoemaker High School in Killeen in 2014, decided to try college for a few months, and then made the decision to follow in his father’s footsteps and enlisted in the Army as a military occupational specialty 92Y, supply clerk.

Now, Williams is helping Coalition forces with Combined Joint Task Force-Operation Inherent Resolve to assist Iraqi Security Forces in defeating ISIS as the supply clerk for Headquarters and Headquarters Battalion, 1st Armored Division, which is headquartered at Fort Bliss, Texas.

“This is my first deployment, and it’s not too bad working with the Coalition,” he said. “I’m seeing different people from different walks of life and getting to learn how other people do things. It’s great.”

Williams’ job is to ensure his unit has the supplies it needs to complete the missions they are assigned, which are primarily to provide various forms of support to Coalition forces.

While all his family and friends are still in Killeen, he does try to keep in touch with them from Iraq.

“It’s tougher to keep in contact with them over here,” Williams said. “Although I do have family over here — the soldiers I’m with are family, and we complete the mission together.”

Williams, who deployed in June for a nine-month rotation, said his father was the reason he decided to join the Army.

“He told me he enjoyed visiting so many different places, such as Germany and Korea,” he said. “It’s one of the good things about the Army.”

The enthusiastic football and basketball player is close to reaching his fourth year in the Army and said he just reenlisted. He intends to begin taking advantage of the education benefits the military offers and work toward a bachelors degree.

With Veterans Day coming up on Saturday, Williams said he would like to thank the veterans in his own family for their service.

“And to those who have a veteran in their family, I would like to thank them for what they did,” he said. “It’s not easy being in the military, in any branch of service, what with being gone a lot. But if anyone thinks joining (the military) is a bad idea, I would like to say that it’s actually a great thing. It provides you so many opportunities for a better future.”

dbryant@kdhnews.com | 254-501-7554

dbryant@kdhnews.com | 254-501-7554

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