William Edwards Otis, Jr. – Second Lieutenant, United States Army

William Edwards Otis, Jr.
Cleveland, Ohio – Born September 10, 1925
Second Lieutenant, US Army
Killed in Action September 11, 1950 in Korea
USMA Class of 1950

Second Lieutenant Otis was a veteran of World War II. In Korea, he was a member of the 5th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Cavalry Division. He was Killed in Action while fighting the enemy in South Korea on September 11, 1950. For his leadership and valor, Second Lieutenant Otis was awarded the Silver Star and the Purple Heart.

Courtesy of his Classmates, USMA Class Of 1950

William Edwards Otis, Jr.
NO. 17908  •  18 July 1927 – 7 September 1955
Died September 11, 1950, in Korea, aged 25 years


“Tige,” as he was known to family and friends, or Bill, as he became known at West Point, had one outstanding trait which we who knew and loved him will always remember. It was an uncanny ability to lighten the moment, no matter how dark, and make everyone happy to be there at that particular time with him. He would laugh at himself or with you or lampoon an entire situation to shatter its oppressiveness. Although his life was tragically short, it was full and rich because he never wasted time worrying about misfortune.

Born In Cleveland, Ohio, “Tige” first looked at Army life at Schofield Barracks, Hawaii, in 1929 when his mother was married to an Army officer. Somewhere early in the family's tour of peacetime  Army posts he determined that this would be his career. There were many obstacles to overcome, but “Tige” never relinquished this goal.

After attending various schools on Army posts and in Cleveland, “Tige” entered Culver Military Academy. A member of the Artillery there, he was active in cadet life and as a member of the wrestling team. Two years of military life seemed to sharpen his desire to enter the Military Academy; he secured a Congressional appointment upon his graduation in 1943. Such was not to be immediately, however, as defective vision prevented his passing the medical examination. There followed two years of enlisted service in the Artillery and in the CIC, as well as several delicate eye operations, before he finally entered the Academy with the class of 1950.

West Point with its periodic cycles of gloom seemed to lend fuel to “Tige's” love of humor and satire. Although deeply dedicated to the traditions and missions of West Point, he depicted his exasperations with the rigors of the military and academic system to the delight of family and friends, gathering regularly to read his letters.

During his First Class year “Tige” met Doris Livingston of Philadelphia, to whom he was married following graduation June Week.

On August 7, 1950, “Tige's” leave and honeymoon were terminated and he flew to Japan. He stayed there less than a week before reporting to the First Cavalry Division in Korea. Although engaged in the bitter fighting of that month, he found time to lighten the home spirits, spinning anecdotes of his disappointment at the elimination of the beer ration and of his difficulties making himself understood by Korean soldiers. Humor however shrouded no lack of resolution. For his “extreme courage and aggressive action against overwhelming odds” in action near Waegwan, “Tige” was awarded the Silver Star. He had been put in for another for his part in leading a patrol to bring out a fellow officer and friend who had been cut off; but shortly thereafter, on September 11, he was killed while leading his platoon on an attack near Waegwan.

A friend of the family wrote that as tragic as his death was, there was some small consolation in knowing that “Tige” had early set his mind on a career in the service and when he died was leading his troops, the ultimate fulfillment of that goal. Considering this, with the happiness he had known in marriage and the memories he left, which even now can make us who loved him forget ourselves and chuckle, his was indeed a life full and rich.



  • DATE OF BIRTH: 09/10/1925
  • DATE OF DEATH: 09/11/1950

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