WILSON, BILLIE JOE
Rank / Branch:
SSG E-6 USMC
FIRST MARINE DIVISION
Date of Birth:
HOSTILE, SMALL ARMS
Awards & Decorations:
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list by County
BILLIE JOE WILSON, STAFF SERGEANT, USMC, ODESSA, ECTOR COUNTY, TEXAS
AWARDS AND DECORATIONS
Bronze Star with "V" device, Purple Heart with 2 Stars (3 awards), Marine Corp Good Conduct Medal, Vietnam Service Medal, Vietnam Campaign Medal
Billie Joe Wilson was a native of Ralls, Crosby County, Texas where he was born and raised. Ralls is approximately 70 miles east of Lubbock Texas. He was a career marine and had served for 12 years. He had first entered the Marine Corp in 1946, at the age of 17 and after the Korean War, he had a break in service and he re-enlisted in the late 50's, using Valley Center, Kansas as his home of record. He had married Sumitar Mansi while serving in Thailand. He had no children by this marriage but had two daughters by a previous marriage.
SSG Wilson was assigned as a Marine Corp Recruiter in Odessa from April 1966 to April 1969. He recruited many young men from the area into the Marine Corp during the worst days of the war in Vietnam. Sadly he attended many funerals of young men he had recruited, who died in the service of their country. He took each death personally. He informed his wife prior to beginning his tour in Vietnam that if anything happened to him, he wanted to be laid to rest among those that he had recruited.
He completed his tour as a recruiter and was ordered for service in Vietnam. His wife remained in Odessa while he was serving in Vietnam. He began his tour in Vietnam on April 19, 1969. He was assigned as a platoon sergeant for L Company, 3rd Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment, First Marine Division. On February 9, 1970, SSG Wilson died from wounds generated from small arms fire that had occurred on January 5, 1970. A missile hit him in the chest and lodged against his spinal cord causing paralysis from the chest down. He had been medevaced to the U.S. Naval Hospital at Yokosuki, Japan. This wound generated a third purple heart awarded to SSG Wilson.
Sunset Memorial Garden's Cemetery, Odessa, Texas
In keeping with his wishes, SSG Billie Joe Wilson was laid to rest with full military honors at the Sunset Memorial Garden's Cemetery in Odessa near those he had recruited for service into his beloved Marine Corp. His wife never remarried, she returned to Thailand where she passed away in June, 1999. He was also survived by his daughters, Donna Lynn and Becky Wilson, then of Hooks, Texas; his parents Mr. and Mrs. Robert C. Wilson also of Hooks, Texas and his younger brother Bob Wilson of Ohio.
His parents are now deceased. His daughter Donna Lynn Morton lives in Nash, Texas which is a suburb of Texarkana. A grandson, Billie Joe Morton was named in his honor. His daughter, Becky Tuegellas lives in Trinidad, Colorado. His brother, Bob continues to live in Ohio. His former wife and the mother of his children passed away April 23, 2005.