Bill Withers to posthumously receive US Navy award

Lone Sailor Award

Navy veteran Bill Withers photo on the cover of ‘The Best of Bill Withers’ album, 1980. Image courtesy of Royal Auctions and LiveAuctioneers

WASHINGTON (EINPresswire) – The U.S. Navy Memorial announced today that Bill Withers will posthumously receive the Lone Sailor Award, which is given to sea service veterans who have excelled with distinction in their respective careers during or after their service.

Withers, who died March 30 from heart complications, had been selected to receive the Lone Sailor Award by the board of directors of the U.S. Navy Memorial and he was to receive the award at the 2021 Lone Sailor Awards Dinner in Washington, D.C.

He joins an impressive list of sea service veterans who have distinguished themselves by drawing upon their military experience to become successful in their subsequent careers and lives, while exemplifying the core values of Honor, Courage and Commitment.

Withers was an American singer-songwriter and musician who performed and recorded music from 1970 until 1985. He recorded several major hits, including Lean on Me, Ain’t No Sunshine and Just the Two of Us. Withers won three Grammy Awards and was nominated for four more. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2015.

Born the last of six children in the coal mining town of Slab Fork, West Virginia, Withers was raised by his mother’s family in nearby Beckley, West Virginia.

He joined the Navy at 17 and served as an Aviation Mechanic. He courageously overcame a childhood stutter while serving in the Navy. There are stories about Withers going on liberty with his fellow Sailors as he developed his musical talent and became interested in singing and writing songs.

After serving in the Navy for nine years, Withers moved to Los Angeles, worked at an aircraft parts factory, bought a guitar at a pawn shop and recorded demos of his tunes in hopes of landing a recording contract.

“Bill Withers exemplifies the men and women of our sea services who develop their character and talents while serving in the military and go on to live lives of consequence,” said Rear Adm. Frank Thorp, President and CEO of the Navy Memorial. “Bill Withers has literally touched every American’s life over the last fifty years and, through his music and his example, has made our world a better place.”