- Afghanistan, Iraq, Vietnam
Colonel William P. Babcock is a native of Narragansett, Rhode Island and a graduate of South Kingstown High School. He entered The University of Rhode Island in 1964 and enrolled in the Army ROTC four-year program. He was a member of the Sigma Phi Epsilon Fraternity. In 1968, he earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree in History and was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant of Infantry. Colonel Babcock faithfully served our nation for over 23 years and in three major conflicts.
In May 1970, First Lieutenant Babcock was assigned to Alpha Company, 3rd Battalion, 8th Regiment, 4th Infantry Division, in the Republic of South Vietnam. While serving as an Infantry Platoon Leader, he led his platoon in “Operation Binh Tay,” a series of air assaults into Cambodia to interdict the Ho Chi Minh trail used by North Vietnam to supply their units in the south. During one of these missions, Lieutenant Babcock’s unit came into heavy contact with a North Vietnamese Battalion. His company commander was killed, and he took command of the unit and then assisted a wounded comrade from the contact area. For gallantry in action, he was awarded the Silver Star.
Upon the completion of his initial active duty tour, Colonel Babcock attended graduate school at the University of Rhode Island where he was awarded a Master’s Degree in Education. For the next fifteen years, he worked as a post-secondary Student Personnel Administrator at various colleges and universities. During this time, he earned a Master of Business Administration degree.
In 1985, Colonel Babcock joined the Rhode Island National Guard where he served for the next 21 years as a full time military technician and guardsman. There, he held a number of progressively more responsible positions, including Commander, 110th Public Affairs Detachment; Operations Officer of the 43rd Military Police Brigade; Plans and Operations Officer, State Area Command; Commander, 243rd Regiment, Regional Training Academy; Chief of the Training Division, State Area Command; and Deputy Chief of Staff – Operations, Joint Forces Headquarters, Rhode Island National Guard. He completed his career as the Commander of the 56th Troop Command.
In 2003, he volunteered for active duty in Afghanistan, where he spent 6 months as Chief of Staff, Office of Military Cooperation – Afghanistan. In 2005, he volunteered for duty in Iraq, where he spent three months serving as Chief-Lessons Learned, Joint Center for Operational Analysis, Joint Forces Command.
Colonel Babcock’s awards include the Combat Infantry Badge, Silver Star, Legion of Merit, Bronze Star with One Oak Leaf Cluster, Purple Heart, Meritorious Service Medal with One Oak Leaf Cluster, Joint Service Commendation Medal, Army Commendation Medal with Two Oak Leaf Clusters, Army Achievement Medal with One Oak Leaf Cluster; and the Rhode Island Commendation Medal, the Rhode Island Star with One Oak Leaf Cluster and the Rhode Island Cross. He is a graduate of the Army Command and General Staff College and the Army War College.
Colonel Babcock is an enthusiastic supporter of the URI ROTC Cramer’s Sabers Battalion. In 1993, after the Faculty Senate voted to eliminate Army ROTC at URI, he organized alumni and others to go before the Faculty Senate and speak on behalf of retaining this crucial national program. His efforts were instrumental in persuading the Faculty Senate to reverse itself and retain Army ROTC on campus.
Colonel Babcock also participated in the Army Dress Blue Uniform Program wherein URI alumni and friends of the ROTC program contribute to a fund which provides each senior cadet with a Dress Blue Uniform upon graduate and commissioning. Additionally, he created the “Lieutenant Carmen DeCubellis Award” in honor of his URI classmate killed in action in Vietnam. In addition, Colonel Babcock serves as Coordinator of Mentors for the Rhode Island Veterans Treatment Court for veterans with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and other brain injuries.
Colonel Babcock has spent his entire life serving his community and nation during peace and war. His exemplary devotion to duty, personal bravery and outstanding leadership is in the highest traditions of the military service and reflect great credit upon himself and the University of Rhode Island. Colonel Babcock and his wife Judy currently reside in Narragansett, Rhode Island.
Class of 1968