Second-class Petty Officer William J. Richards
United States Navy
William J. Richards served in the Navy from 1969 to 1972. Initially assigned to the USS Chicago, he completed two tours in the Gulf of Tonkin during the Vietnam War, keeping the coast of Vietnam safe for U.S. military planes to enter and exit the country.
While onboard the ship, Richards served as the communications link between the Captain and the weapons and operations officers. His final duty assignment was in Naples, Italy, serving in the courier office of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and traveling across Europe as a courier, delivering Top Secret materials to various NATO bases.
After his service, Richards was devoted to conveying the stories of men and women from all branches of the military to young students in Upper Arlington. As a teacher at Barrington Elementary, Wickliffe Progressive and Hastings Middle schools, he helped create an annual program to honor Veterans and active duty military in the school district, an event that has been adopted by many surrounding schools. Richards also dedicated his time to Honor Flight Columbus, an organization that commemorates homecomings, flies Veterans to view Washington, D.C. memorials at no cost, and shares military experiences–specifically to younger generations–on a broader scale.
Honoring our Community's Veterans
Veterans from across the region are honored and celebrated for their service at special Veterans Day events in the Upper Arlington Schools each year. These events present an opportunity for students to learn firsthand from Veterans about their experiences serving our country. Jones Middle School and Hastings Middle School have long made this connection with Veterans in the community and region as part of an eighth-grade service-learning project. Wickliffe Progressive Elementary School and Upper Arlington High School also bring in Veterans to share their story with the school community. Images courtesy of Upper Arlington Schools.