A Story Of Love And Faith: A Relationship Forged At West Point

Don and Sue (Lambrecht) Williamson


Don and Sue Williamson met at West Point and were married in Las Vegas on September 5, 1992. One of five sisters, Sue grew up on a cattle ranch in Montana, learning the value of hard work at an early age. Don was the middle child of five and grew up in New Jersey and Ridgefield, Connecticut. As a boy, his father took him to West Point football games, kindling his interest in the Academy. When she was a junior in a small high school (35 students), Sue discovered a pamphlet about West Point, but her test scores indicated she would benefit from a year at the United States Military Academy Prep School (USMAPS), where she played basketball, softball, and volleyball. Don was passionate about attending USMA and wrote a daily letter to the Admissions Officer, who finally told him his scores were too low for admittance, so he joined the Army, hoping to earn a spot at USMAPS. During Infantry basic training, Don found God and received mentorship from Chaplain Chris Wisdom. Don was deployed to Panama for Operation Nimrod Dancer when he learned of his appointment to the Prep School. Both Don and Sue enjoyed their time at USMAPS, and in fact, Don met Sue when he came to West Point on the USMAPS visitation day, when she was a Yearling. At the Military Academy, Sue struggled academically, never failing, but graduating near the bottom of her class. Don did not do well in math and science but loved to write. Sue was a “Drill Cadet” at Ft. McClellan and an Executive Officer at Buckner, and Don was a 1st Detail Beast Squad Leader before completing CTLT (Cadet Troop Leader Training) in Alaska. He thrived in an environment of order and discipline, and competed in Cadet boards as a Plebe and Yearling. Both Don and Sue enjoyed the IOCT, and both were involved in religious clubs like Navigators, God’s Gang, the Protestant Choir, and Young Life. Don also sang with the Glee Club. When Don was a yearling at Buckner and Sue was an XO, they began dating, realizing that God had helped them find each other. The following summer, when Don was in Air Assault School, he purchased an engagement ring at the Ft. Campbell PX. In September, after Sue graduated, they were married on the spur of the moment in Las Vegas; the problem was that Don was still a Cow. When the news that Don was married came to light, he was under pressure to tell the names of people who knew he was married, possibly implicating them in a toleration honor violation. Don refused to name names, and he resigned from the Academy, owing two years of service as an enlisted Soldier (E3). One of his officers, Nate Allen, recommended Don commission through OCS (Officer Candidate School), and he became an MP (Military Police) Lieutenant in 1995. Sue commissioned into Military Intelligence and served on active duty until 1997, when she transitioned to the Reserve. She left the Reserve when their second child was born. In 1998, Don transitioned to the Army Reserve and began working for Young Life for 9 years. In 2004, Don was activated for Iraq and deployed with the 379th Engineer Battalion Headquarters to Camp Victory. While in Iraq, Chaplain John Reed recommended Don become a Chaplain, and he subsequently completed Seminary in February 2007, being assigned to the 173rd Airborne Brigade in 4th Battalion, 319th Field Artillery. He deployed to Afghanistan for 15 months in 2007 to 2008, where he was a circuit-rider preacher, traveling from Forward Operating Base to Forward Operating Base to minister to the Soldiers. Occasionally, he was involved in firefights, supporting the Soldiers under fire. After a 2014 deployment to Afghanistan, he decided to switch to being a garrison chaplain in order to be home for his family. Even though he regularly counseled Soldiers, it took 10 years for him to start dealing with his own Post Traumatic Stress, and his assignment to Garmisch, Germany, in 2017 saved their marriage and his life. In 2020, the Williamsons returned to West Point for an assignment that brought them full circle. They considered it a “welcome home” and very healing. Now the Williamsons are taking it one assignment at a time, and are excited to return to Germany. Reflecting on West Point, Sue says it means more to her the older she gets, and Don loved every minute he spent at the Academy.


name Don and Sue (Lambrecht) Williamson
institution USMA
graduation year 1992; 1994
service Military Intelligence; Infantry; Military Police; Chaplain Corps
specialty USMAPS United States Military Academy Prep School; Officer Candidate School
service dates 1988