Lt Col William Groom Leftwich (USMC) was a highly decorated Marine officer who served in the Vietnam War. He is widely respected and honored by the Marine Corps officer community, with statues, trophies, and a naval destroyer dedicated to his legacy. Every year, the Marines recognize a Captain in the ground combat element who demonstrates outstanding leadership by awarding them the Leftwich Trophy. Lt Col Leftwich’s likeness can be found in front of The Basic School, the institution where Marine Corps officers are forged. All this, yet very few people have ever heard of him or why he’s so beloved by those who know his story. For that reason, and the fact that he so thoroughly exemplifies our WARM (Warrior, Ambassador & Role Model) Archetype, it seemed only fitting that we name our organization to honor him and his heroism.
Lt Col William Groom Leftwich (USMC) earned the Navy Cross for his bravery during the battle of Hoai An in 1965. During the battle, he sustained serious injuries from enemy machine gun fire in his neck, back, and cheek. Despite his injuries, he delayed his own evacuation until his subordinates were safely evacuated. He also performed casualty care, called in air strikes, and conducted a proper changeover with the Task Force Commander. Lt Col Leftwich’s quick thinking and heroic actions helped save the lives of his fellow Marines. After only 17 days of hospitalization, he returned to the fight to continue serving his country.
In August of 1970, Lieutenant Colonel Leftwich received intelligence that high-level enemy commanders were planning a meeting in Quang Nam Province. With expert analysis of all available data, he determined the exact location and time schedule of the proposed meeting and formulated a detailed plan for an attack. Despite the danger, he decided to move his men into the area via helicopters at treetop level to avoid detection. Once his unit was in place, Lieutenant Colonel Leftwich launched a surprise attack on the enemy headquarters, which resulted in the killing of 12 enemy commanders, the capture of 12 others, and the seizure of seven weapons. His unit’s aggressive actions “were instrumental in thwarting all planned enemy activity in the area.” Lieutenant Colonel Leftwich’s courageous and dynamic leadership during this operation was an inspiration to all those who served under him.
Tragically, on November 18th, 1970, LtCol Leftwich lost his life in a helicopter crash during an emergency extraction mission to save one of his reconnaissance teams. LtCol Leftwich always put the safety of his team first and made it a practice to personally accompany every emergency extraction. On the day of his death, he was serving as the senior “extract officer” for the mission.
The team that LtCol Leftwich was extracting had suffered casualties and requested urgent assistance from enemy territory. Despite the challenging conditions, LtCol Leftwich oversaw the successful extraction of his team. However, as the helicopter began to ascend, it crashed into a mountainside in enemy territory, and tragically, all those aboard lost their lives.
LtCol Leftwich’s unwavering commitment to the safety of his team and his bravery in the face of danger will never be forgotten.
When hiring an executive protection specialist, it’s important to consider certain traits that are crucial for the job. These include physical ability, confidence, moral character, and a desire for self-improvement. These traits form the foundation for strong leadership, and Lt Col Leftwich embodied all of them.
At Leftwich Global Protective Services, we believe that the best protection agents are first and foremost leaders. We believe the private security services industry can serve itself well to honor and celebrate those who embody the traits that made Lt Col William Groom Leftwich an American hero. By prioritizing these qualities in the hiring process, we can ensure that our clients receive the highest level of protection from exceptional leaders.
Our clients enjoy the very best protection solutions at reasonable prices; they are seamlessly integrated to provide minimum disruption to their everyday lives, handled with discretion and care.