Jack William IV, U.S. Marine Corps veteran, was the keynote speaker for the annual UCI Veteran’s Appreciation Dinner Thursday held at the Pacific Ballroom, UCI Center in Irvine, Calif.
The end-of-year celebration honors deserving graduating veterans and military students for their service to the country.
Awards presented include the Veteran Student of the Year, Military Bridging the Gap Scholarship, Thomas T. Tierney Veteran Scholarship and the Elliott Kornhauser Family Foundation Military Student Bridging the Gap Scholarship.
Williams’ story starts in Georgia, where he graduated from Pierce County High School in 2004 before attending Mercer University in Macon, where he intended to seek a journalism degree to continue in his family’s newspaper business.
After the fall semester of 2005, he dropped out of college to enlist in the U.S. Marine Corps.
He joined the marines in January 2006 as an infantryman, attended basic training at Parris Island, S.C., and because his name was after “S” in the alphabet, was ordered to report for advanced infantry training at Camp Pendleton, Calif.
Williams trained as an infantry anti-armor missleman and reported in July 2006 to his permanent duty station at 2nd Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment, Camp Pendleton, Calif., at which post he served until the end of his service in 2010.
Williams deployed twice. First, in 2007, he joined his unit and attachments for the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit out of Okinawa, Japan, during which time the MEU’s mission was to protect the United States’ interest in the Pacific region and to maintain relations with its allies.
Williams turned 21 aboard a naval vessel bound for South Korea. Consistent with Marine Corps tradition, he caught a platoon beating to celebrate and then took a cold shower.
In 2009, Williams deployed with 2/1 for combat operations in Nineveh and Anbar provinces, Iraq. He served first as a turret gunner, and then a squad leader in the conduct of mounted and foot patrols throughout his unit’s area of operations.
Upon returning home from Iraq in August 2009, Williams enrolled in Saddleback College for courses to begin in Spring, 2010. The GI Bill had only just been implemented as of the month of his return from Iraq.
Williams completed the required 60 units to transfer from Saddleback over the spring, summer and fall of 2010, and transferred to UC Irvine in the winter quarter of 2011 with a 4.0 Saddleback GPA.
Williams graduated UCI following the spring quarter of 2012 with a degree in history, summa cum laude, 4.0 GPA. He earned the Chancellor’s Award of Distinction at graduation. He completed his undergraduate coursework in two-and-a-half years.
While an undergraduate at UCI, Williams advocated for the permanent establishment of a dedicated veterans services office, winning the support of then interim vice-chancellor Parham, and secured funding for the veterans services office’s full-time administrator through his position on the Student Fee Advisory Committee. Williams also served as veterans issues advisor to the student body president in the associated student government of UCI.
Williams then attended UC Irvine School of Law. Williams graduated UCI Law in 2015, cum Iaude, and started work at the Irvine offices of Jones Day, a global law firm.
Williams practices class-action defense law and general business litigation. He serves as a member of the board of directors for the Veterans Legal Institute, a pro bono law firm that provides legal aid to veterans in Orange County.
When Williams isn’t working, he enjoys sailing.
He is the son of Journal-Herald Editor Jack Williams III, of Waycross.