By Patrick McCallister
For Hometown News
NEW SMYRNA BEACH - By all accounts, U.S. Army Sgt. Arthur Williams IV loved the uniform, loved the team and gave both his all - on the football field and the battlefield.
But on only one did he make the ultimate sacrifice.
New Smyrna Beach High School will name its practice football field in honor of the former Cuda on May 24.
"All he knew was that the front of his jersey said Cuda," Army Sgt. Dan Carr said in a Skype interview from Germany, referring to Mr. Williams' loyalty to his high school. "The front of your jersey said Cuda. And that's all he needed to know."
Both sergeants played football for and graduated from New Smyrna Beach High School in 1991. Sgt. Williams joined the Army that year; Sgt. Carr would join a few years later.
According to the Department of Defense, Sgt. Williams died on Dec. 8, 2004, in Ar Ramadi, Iraq, when his unit was on dismounted patrol and came under small-arms attack. Friends and family members say Sgt. Williams was awarded the Bronze Star for heroic actions he took that likely saved others' lives during the attack.
Sgt. Carr attended his friend's memorial service - a friend he'd played football with from Pop Warner to high school. But, the service left him unsatisfied. Sgt. Carr talked with others from the Class of '91 trying to come up with an appropriate permanent memorial to their classmate. His brother, Lawrence "Lynnie" Carr, an assistant athletic director at the high school, thought of naming the practice football field in honor of Sgt. Williams. The idea seemed perfect to Sgt. Carr and others.
"(Sgt. Williams) may not have been a starter," Sgt. Carr said. "He may not have been the biggest kid. He may not have been the smartest kid. But, he was the most dedicated kid."
Sgt. Williams' father, Arthur "Art" Williams III, said he, too, liked the idea, and is certain his son would appreciate the honor.
"I know my son would have liked it, so I was really pleased," he said. "He started playing football at 5 or 6 years old. He continued through high school."
Because Sgt. Carr is stationed in Germany, he asked his father, Lawrence "Lindsay" Carr, to approach principal Jim Tager with the idea. He quickly agreed that the school should name the practice field after the alumnus.
"I think it would be a great thing for the kids, and his family," the principal said.
The elder Mr. Williams said he hopes future New Smyrna Beach High School students will learn about his son's life and death and draw important lessons from both.
"I hope they will recognize he was young, and realize that today is the day that the Lord might call you home," he said. "Of course, I was very proud of him - the way he did go for God and for country. He was very strong in standing for country. I hope that the people that see (the coming memorial sign) will understand that also."
Mr. Tager said plans for the ceremonial unveiling of the memorial are in progress.