Services for retired Command Sgt. Maj. Wilford Hills Jr., 76, of Killeen, will be at 11 a.m. Wednesday at Bibleway Church of God In Christ with Pastor Robert Ellis officiating. Burial with full military honors will follow at Central Texas State Veterans Cemetery.
Mr. Hills died June 28, 2014, at his home.
He was born to proud parents Wilford and Beatrice Hills on Dec. 6, 1937, in Abbeville, La. He accepted Christ at a very young age. He attended 19th Street Chapel, where he served as an usher for several years before his deployment to Germany.
Mr. Hills would be best remembered for his valuable contributions to signal units in Korea, Germany and Fort Hood. In the late 1970s, he managed the transition of Company E, 16th Signal Battalion, from National Guard to full capstone status.
Moving to Germany, Mr. Hills served successfully for two years as commander, 524th Signal Detachment, 60th signal Battalion, a rare assignment for an NCO and an opportunity granted only to individuals with recognized leadership ability.
From March 1982 to December 1986, he served as command sergeant major of the 16th Signal, successfully deploying the battalion on the “Reforger” exercise and fielding the first Corps-level communication system using automatic switching.
He next served as command sergeant major of the 304th Signal Battalion, the largest tactical signal battalion in Korea, whose outstanding performance during Team Spirit ’87 was personally lauded by the commanding general.
Returning to Fort Hood, Hills was selected as the command sergeant major for 303rd MI Battalion, where he made major contributions to the battalion’s highly successful Emergency Deployment Readiness Exercise.
During his years serving the military, his awards included the Bronze Star Medal with one Oak Leaf Cluster, Army Commendation Medal with “V” Device and three Oak Leaf Clusters, Army Achievement Medal, Good Conduct Medal with Silver, four loops, National Defense Service Medal, Vietnam Service Medal with four Bronze Service Stars, NCO Professional Development Ribbon Numeral 5, Army Service Ribbon, Overseas Service Ribbon, Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal, Driver and Mechanic Badge, Republic of Vietnam Gallantry Cross Unit Citation Badge and the Meritorious Service Medal.
He also was a member of Prince Hall Masons New Light Lodge 242, Central Texas Consistory 306, and Nubia Temple 191 Shriners and a life member of Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 9191.
Mr. Hills was educated in the New Orleans School District, where he received high honors and received several awards in drafting and art.
He enlisted in the Army in November 1958. He retired with an honorable discharge in March 1989, serving 32 years on active duty.
He continued his education at Central Texas College, completing an associate degree in General Studies. He received a second associate degree in Biology from El Paso Community College.
He married Johnnie Reed on June 19, 1965. Their 49 years of marriage was spent traveling the Panama Canal Zone, in Augusta, Ga., Germany and 23 years at Fort Hood.
To this union, one son was born, Dyron.
He leaves to cherish his memories, his wife, Johnnie Hills of Killeen; one son, Dyron Hills of Plano; one daughter, Kim Simms (Russles); three sisters, Wilda Smith, Dorothy Butler (John), and Maxine Cager (Roland ) all of New Orleans, La.; one grandson, James, one great-grandson, Xavier; and a host of other relatives and friends.
Visitation will be from 6 to 8 p.m. today at Chisolm’s Family Funeral Home in Killeen, which is in charge of arrangements. Offer condolences at www.chisolmsfuneral.com.