November 23rd, 2006 03:07 EST
Army starting quarterback wears 1st Cav patch, just like father in Iraq
CAMP LIBERTY — The Williams family may not be able to share turkey during their Thanksgiving meal, but there is one thing that will bring them a little bit closer.
While the father wears the 1st Cavalry Division combat patch on the battlefield in Iraq, during game days, half a world away, his son sports the same patch on the gridiron.
Capt. Frank Williams Jr., trial counsel, 1169th Engineer Group, and his son Carson Riley Williams, starting quarterback for West Point’s Black Knights, did not realize that they would be wearing the same patch.
“We were shocked when they (West Point) placed the 1st Cavalry patch on his chest. Both of us thought it was ironic we’d both be wearing the same patch,” Williams said. “He and I both liked the idea. It’s like the icing on the cake. I think he wears it very proudly knowing I wear it over here too.”
Williams had seen every one of his son’s games until this season, he said.
That’s because in July he mobilized for deployment to Iraq, just after his son left to attend the U.S. Military Academy on a football scholarship, said the Cullman, Ala., native.
It was Williams’ first time deployment and his son’s first time away from home and first exposure to military training, he said.
Now a freshman at West Point, the nineteen-year old has come a long way since then, his father said.
The West Point cadet faces more than challenges of the field. He must balance scholastics with military training and being a Division I athlete, Williams said.
Even though Williams has missed most of his son’s games this season, he still takes comfort knowing that Carson wears the same patch for games as he puts on every morning to go to war, he said.
Before the season Williams did not think he would even see his son play as a freshman, let alone start.
“When he got to West Point he was fifth on the depth cart. One player got injured and he worked his way up to the backup position.” Then during the Texas Christian University game, Carson was called on to the field to lead the West Point football troops down the field, Williams said. “We’re just small time country boys. I was proud and shocked.”
Though Carson is at the height of his football career thus far, his father is unable to see much of him in action because of his deployment, he said.
Instead of seeing his son’s games he now has a weekly phone call, which keeps the father and son close.
“We don’t have a lot of time to talk on the phone. I just try to get him ready for the next game. I talk to him once a week and give him a little advice,” Williams said.
Despite the distance between father and son, they both take consolation in being able to wear the same patch on game day.
(By Spc. L.B. Edgar, 7th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment)