Retired Sergeant First Class (SFC) William J. Rutledge of Grambling was recognized at the Korea-Vietnam Veterans Honors Luncheon held at Barksdale Air Force Base in Shreveport on Friday, Sept. 18. Rutledge was presented the Korea Ambassador for Peace Medal.
“It was wonderful; I was met at the front door and escorted to my seat, I was given a badge and a Vietnam cap,” said Rutledge.
He served 27 years in the United States Army, after enlisting in 1948.
“I was in the Army from 1948 through 1975, I went to Korea in 1950, which was a rough time for me being a young man in my 20s, and my first time going to combat,” said Rutledge.
The citation that accompanied the medal and ribbon Rutledge received stated, “It is a great honor and pleasure to express the everlasting gratitude of the Republic of Korea and our people for the service you and your countrymen have performed in restoring and preserving our freedom and democracy.”
The Minister of Patriots and Veterans Affairs for the Republic of Korea, said, “Let us each of us reaffirm our mutual respect and friendship that they may endure for generations to come.”
His duty assignments included overseas tours in Korea, Turkey, France, Vietnam, and Iran. He also had stateside duty in Oklahoma, Louisiana, Texas, and Washington, D. C. Rutledge described, “Korea was one of the coldest winters of my life, but I do not regret one day of being in the Army because I was able to visit close to 50 countries.”
He earned both a bachelor of sciences and masters of sciences degrees from Grambling State University after his retirement from the Army. He has held leadership positions in numerous organizations including the American Legions Post 593, the National Association for Uniformed Services, The Retired Enlisted Association, and the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW).
When asked what advice do you have for young men and women in the Army today, Rutledge replied, “If young men and women want to get ahead, they need to study in order to stay afloat.”
He and his wife, Dr. Swedie W. Rutledge, reside in Grambling. They have two children, two grandchildren and one great-grandchild.
Rutledge sends most of his time assisting others through out the Grambling community. One of his favorite drives to volunteer for is the Christmas Toy Drive sponsored by 91.5 KGRM radio on the GSU campus.
He is an avid traveler, who has visited over 60 different countries.