Willard "Rick" Williams

 James Coe II

Thomas Orval

Charles Graham




Chef de Chemin de Fer (Willard "Rick" Williams) 

Born as Baby Hill May 14, 1948 in Chattanooga TN. adopted and raised in Chattanooga, TN. By Willard C. Williams and Polly P Williams.  Have been married and divorced a couple of times, my last wife is deceased, not looking to remarry.

Graduated from Red Bank High School 1968 and entered the service with the United States Marine Corps in July of 68 to August 88, retired at the rank of Gunnery Sergeant.  Military jobs included Heavy Equipment Operator, Heavy Equipment Mechanic and Instructor, Correctional Officer, Water Safety and Survival Instructor Trainer, Photographer, Photo Processing and Quality Control Technician, Continuous photographic processing technician, Television Cameraman, editor and director, and Photographic Chief.  After retirement returned to school and achieved an Associate’s Degree in Electronics from DeVry Institute of Technologies.

Duty stations were Parris Island SC, Camp LeJeune NC, Republic of Viet Nam, Island of Okinawa, NAS New Orleans LA, Quantico VA, and 29 Palms CA, with deployments to the Caribbean, Mediterranean, and a Good Will tour with transportation provided by the US Navy.  

After retirement from the service:  Worked for John P Morgan and Beattie Manufacturing and Service- both companies built and repaired professional photographic equipment.  Went to work at Coppinger Photographic Corporation as Photographic repair supervisor.  After Coppinger closing down was employed by the United States Postal Service, working as a window and distribution clerk in Charleston TN. and other local post offices.  Becoming an instructor for new window clerks, moved around the district, ending up as a OIC in Calhoun, TN from which l retired in 2016

Life member in the Forty and Eight, American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars, Fleet Marine Association, where I have held various officer titles and worked for the betterment of the organization.  My time with the Forty and Eight began after my being invited by David Smith and mentored by him my induction into La Societe in 1993 at The Hillbilly Wrek, Cleveland, TN.  Positions held include Guard de la Porte, Chef de Train, Conducteur, Chef de Gare, Commissar Intendant, Correspondant, Drapeau, Cheminot, Commie Voiture, Color Guard, Directeur of Nurses Training, Caravel Star, Boxcar, Child Welfare, Special Awards, and membership.  Grand Chef de Gare, Grand Guard de la Porte, Grand Correspondant, Grand Commie Voiture, Grande Cheminot, Grand Color Guard, and Grand Directeur of Nurses Training, Caravel Star, Boxcar, Special Awards.  At the Nationale level served as Sous Chef de Chemin de Fer, Cheminot Nationale, and Nationale Color Guard, Sous Directeur of Boxcar, Special Awards, and Membership.   I belong to the Generals Club and Chef de Gare Passes Club, The Germany Club, and PALS. 

Have two daughters living in Chattanooga, TN and eight grandchildren.  I am currently living in Cleveland, TN. Planing on maintaining residence here, but travel the roads after this next retirement.




Sous Chef de Chemin de Fer (James Coe II) 

Jim became eligible for membership while serving in the U.S. Marine Corps 27 Feb 69 through 22 Feb 71, when he was released from active duty and subsequently was honorably discharged on 26 Feb 1975, at the rank of Sgt. E-5.

Jim decided to continue his service and joined the Michigan Army National Guard in May, 1978. He then served 20 years and again was honorably discharged 1 May 1998 at the rank of Command Sergeant Major, E-9.

Jim joined the American Legion in October, 1975 and has continued service to-date. He has held the position of Commander, 1st and 2nd Vice, Service Officer, Sgt. at Arms, Executive Board, and Judge Avocat

Jim was invited to join La Societe and was wrecked at V-946 in May, 1976.  He has been a member since then, except for an eight year sabbatical in the mid-80’s while his duties in the Army as 1st. Sergeant took most of his time.

Jim has served the Voiture as Chef de Gare (1994 and 1998), Chef de Train (twice), Conducteur (5 times), Garde de la Porte (4 times), Cheminot Locale (twice), and Avocat (9 times). He has served on numerous other committees and projects.

Jim has also served Grande du Michigan as Cheminot (3 times), Sous Cheminot (twice), Directeur Americanism (twice), and Directeur Nurses Training (6 years), and Grande Chef de Gare. He also served on the Nationale level as Sous Directeur of Nurses Training for two years prior to his election as Sous Chef.  

Jim’s family includes wife, Lori, sons James III and wife Robin, Jeff and wife Tammy, daughter Jessica, stepsons Robert and Sean, and two grandchildren, Isabella (17) and Jayden (15).

Jim is a staunch advocate for Veterans and their families and spends many hours each year in support of Memorial Day and Veteran’s Day activities. He also maintains a close connection with the Army National Guard.




Sous Chef de Chemin de Fer (Thomas Orval) 

    Born in Superior, Wisconsin in 1954, Tom graduated from Johnson Creek High School in 1972.  He immediately enlisted in the US Army. First becoming a Field Wireman, it was noted that he was a typist so he went off to school to become a radio teletype operator. Stationed in Bamberg Germany until his honorable discharge in 1974, he immediately joined the local American Legion. A (45) year member, he is the only Legionnaire rom his District to twice win the Wisconsin 2nd District Legionnaire of the Year award receiving this honor in both 1988 and again in 2018. Tom was actively initiated into the Forty et Eight in March of 1978.

     He has held numerous positions within the Locale to include Chef de Gare in 1992, Commissaire Intendent from 1993-1996 and has been their Correspondant since 1997.  

     He was both Sous Cheminot and Cheminot of his District, each for a two year term. Tom was a Grand Directeur over the years in Box Car, Nurses Training, Special Awards, Public Relations and is currently the Grand Directeur of the POW-MIA program.

     Other positions within the Grande level include Grand / National Color Guard, Grand Commis Voyageur, Grand Garde de La Porte, Grand Conducteur, Grand Sous Chef de Train, Grand Chef de Train and in 2008 he was elected Grand Chef de Gare. He has been the Grand Correspondant of the Grande Voiture de Wisconsin since 2005. In 2008 he was the first Voyageur from a larger Grande Voiture to hold both the Grand Correspondant and Grand Chef de Gare’s position concurrently. Tom has also been the L’editeur of the Wisconsin Badger Forty & Eighter bi monthly magazine since 2005.

     One Committee Chairmanship he is most proud of and that is being the Chairman of the annual Wisconsin Forty & Eight Days at Camp American Legion in northern Wisconsin the weekend after Father’s Day. A social weekend filled with fun and camaraderie among the Forty & Eight family. Since taking over this position; a Friday afternoon beanbag tournament was started along with a Saturday morning fishing tournament for all of the anglers. Picnic’s, bon fires and plenty of 40 et 8 family camaraderie are all part of this very special four day weekend. 

     On the National level, he spent nine years on the National Box Car Program; the last three as the Directeur. Tom has served on the Public Relations Committee, the Membership Committee twice. National Conducteur, National Garde de La Porte and is presently on his fourth year at the National L’editeur of the Forty & Eighter magazine.

     In 2010 in Springfield, Illinois he was awarded the National Voyageur of the Year award. At the 2018 National Promenade in Louisville he was awarded the National Box Car Association Mr. Box Car Memorial Award.

     Recently retired from Ecolab and already retired from General Motors, Tom and his wife Mary who just happens to be the Grande Cabane Correspondante of the Grande Cabane de Wisconsin have been married for 29 years. They reside in Johnson Creek close to family and friends.

     Born and bred a diehard Wisconsin Badger and Green Bay Packer fan; most Saturday and Sunday’s in the fall; you’ll find him in his basement office with the TV on working on the computer and listening to the game. And “YES” more than likely an adult beverage at his side.

     I have one saying that ends each and every article, communication or response so this short biography will be no different.

Faith – Family – Forty et Eight.




Sous Chef de Chemin de Fer (Charles Graham) 

Born in Watertown, NY and moved with my family to Frankfort, NY when I was 6. After Graduating from Frankfort Schuyler High School I enlisted in the US Army in 1971 and served until 1992, retiring as a Sgt. 1st Class. After my discharge I went to work for the Army-Air Force Exchange on Ft Drum, NY, where I worked for 17 years as the Manger of the Car Care Center.

In 1999 I was invited to join Jefferson County Voitire 534. I served in all elected offices to include Chef de Gare. On the Grand level I served in many elected offices to include Chef de Gare in 2014. In 2017 I became Grand Correspondant Grand du NY, a job I still hold.

On the National level I served as Aide de Camp to Chef de Chemin de Fer 2008 Berine Sampson and then as Cheminot National, Sous Conductor, Sous Directeur Youth Sports, and Sous Directeur Membership.

I joined the American Legion in 1980 and served in many offices to include Post Commander, County Commander, District Commander and Department Vice Commander, 2019 will be my 20th year as Post Adjutant.

In 1979 I met and married my wife Kathy and we have two children, Jason and Barbara, and two Grand Children Tristin and Addison.    



Click Here to Return to the Top of the Page