Clifford J. Williams fought for the US as a machine gunner in France during World War I but struggled to find employment when he returned home. Williams was later involved in a race riot that broke out after white boaters stoned a swimming black child who reached out to their raft following a cramp. However, Williams' parents disapproved of him getting involved in the violence.
He met Indiana Jones, a new friend of his sister Goldie, in 1920. Though Williams was initially frosty with Jones, the pair bonded over their shared experiences in the war and became friends.