Medal of Honor recipient: Williams should ‘man up’

Williams

Charleston’s Medal of Honor recipient says it’s time for suspended NBC News anchor Brian Williams to “man up” about his future as a board member with the Congressional Medal of Honor Foundation.

While declining to call for Williams to resign, retired Marine Maj. Gen. James Livingston said Williams needs “to do what’s right.”

“He has to ‘man up,’ to make his own decision,” said Livingston, one of two living South Carolina recipients of the nation’s highest military recognition.

Livingston is not a member of the foundation but is a highly visible supporter of the military in Charleston.

Livingston said Wednesday he has mostly positive memories of Williams as a news anchor, particularly pointing to his dedication and the personal touches he gave to stories whenever a recipient passed on.

“I hate to see that go away,” said Livingston, who credited Williams with keeping the message of military figures “in front of the American people.”

Williams is listed as a member of the board on its website. Media calls to the Washington, D.C.-based foundation were referred to sending an email to Ronald T. Rand, foundation president and CEO. There was no response.

The foundation is not connected to the Medal of Honor Museum project at the Patriots Point museum in Mount Pleasant.

Williams did take a profile role at the medal museum on Charleston Harbor when he hosted a gala marking its opening on the aircraft carrier Yorktown in 2007.

Locally, the National Medal of Honor Foundation wants to build a $100 million attraction and new museum home along the waterfront at Patriots Point. Group representative Rudi Gresham said he didn’t think the Williams controversy would hurt their effort or fundraising.

Williams was suspended for six months by NBC because of discrepancies in his reporting that surfaced earlier this month.

Livingston was awarded his medal for action in Vietnam.

Reach Schuyler Kropf at 937-5551.