William Dean Hawkins was born April 18, 1914, in Fort Scott, Kansas. As an infant he was burnt when a pot of boiling water was upset, which left Hawkins with lifelong scars. It took him nearly a year before he could walk again. When he was young his family relocated to El Paso, Texas, and after skipping two grades, Hawkins graduated from El Paso High School at age 16. On January 5, 1942, Hawkins enlisted in the Marine Corps Reserve after being denied entrance from the army and navy. Hawkins completed scout sniper’s school in July 1942, and was sent to the Pacific soon after. On November 21, 1943, Hawkins initiated an attack against enemy fortifications and continued fighting despite being wounded. After disabling many machine gun nests, Hawkins was mortally wounded and died that same day. Hawkins was awarded the Medal of Honor and Purple Heart posthumously and is buried at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific in Honolulu, Hawaii.
Entry: Hawkins, William
Author: Kansas Historical Society
Author information: The Kansas Historical Society is a state agency charged with actively safeguarding and sharing the state's history.
Date Created: June 2012
Date Modified: July 2012
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