Lieutenant Colonel William Alexander Hamilton, US Army, was born 22 March 1935 in Pauls Valley, Oklahoma, and graduated from Anadarko High School. Awarded a Regent’s and Danforth Scholarship, Hamilton graduated from the University of Oklahoma in 1957 with a degree in Government and was commissioned through ROTC as an infantry officer.
On 23 September 1966, during the 2nd Battle of the Ia Drang, Vietnam, then Captain Hamilton, Company Commander of D Co. 2nd/5th Cav, 1st Air Cavalry Division, exposed himself to enemy fire to relay his artillery requests to a helicopter in order to support a friendly force on the valley floor. For his heroism, Hamilton was awarded the Bronze Star Medal with “V” Device.
While serving in Cambodia, on 22 June 1970, as the S-3 2nd/5th Cav, despite the ground to air fire, Hamilton directed his helicopter to hover above an infantry company’s location to drop needed ammunition and supplies, then returned again with more supplies. For his gallantry Hamilton was awarded the Silver Star Medal.
After Vietnam, he attended the US Naval War College where he was a Distinguished Graduate and, in his spare time, earned his master’s degree in International Affairs from George Washington University. While serving in Europe, he commanded both an airborne infantry battalion and an armored cavalry squadron. After completing a 21-year military career he entered the world of public service, business and journalism.
Hamilton’s other military awards include the Legion of Merit, Distinguished Flying Cross, three additional Bronze Stars, the Purple Heart, 20 Air Medals, the Army Commendation Medal with “V” Device, the Air Force Commendation Medal, the Combat Infantry Badge, the Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry, and Vietnamese Medal of Honor.
Hamilton is also a graduate of the University of Nebraska, Ph.D. (History), and the Harvard University Program for Senior Executives in State Government. He has excelled in the fields of civilian government service, journalism, aviation, and business. In October 2008, he was inducted into the University of Oklahoma Army ROTC Wall of Fame and in 2014 the Oklahoma Journalism Hall of Fame. Hamilton and his wife, colleague and fellow author, Penny Hamilton, continue to serve their community in Granby, Colorado.