Col. William Nelson of Durham was selected as the Coginchaug football team’s Honorary Captain for its season-opening game Thursday, Sept. 14.
Col. Nelson is the grandfather of Blue Devil Jesse Nelson, a sophomore linebacker.
Col. Nelson graduated as a Second Lieutenant in the U.S. Army from the University of Connecticut’s ROTC program in 1952.
Following graduation, he trained at Fort Dix in New Jersey and Fort Benning in Georgia.
In 1953 he was deployed to Japan where he served with a heavy mortar company attached to the 5th Cavalry Regiment of the 1st Cavalry Division on the island of Hokkaido.
While in Japan, Col. Nelson trained for a variety of combat roles including ski trooper, mountain infantry and air cavalry.
Col. Nelson returned home from Japan in 1954. When his active duty obligation ended, he enlisted in an Army reserve unit based in New Haven.
During his time in the reserves, Col. Nelson graduated from the Army Command and General Staff School at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas where he was trained to lead Army units involved in interagency, intergovernmental and multinational operations.
Col. Nelson retired from the reserves in 1980, ending a 30-year military career.
Col. Nelson and his wife, Barbara, moved to Durham in 1958 and have lived in Middlefield since 2000.
Col. Nelson worked as a Department Superintendent at the Allegheny Ludlum steel mill in Wallingford for 30 years. He retired in 1985.