Honoring Hershel ‘Woody’ Williams, A Recipient Of The Medal Of Honor During World War II

Hershel “Woody” Williams stands out among others. He is the final living recipient of the World War II Medal of Honor, and he is 97 years old. But what makes him unique is how he has lived all these years since. He admitted to Martin, “he felt that he owed back more than he could ever offer.”

During the Great Depression, he was raised in West Virginia on a farm. My family has 11 children, he remarked. Only five of us were able to reach maturity.

He attempted to join the Marines after Pearl Harbor but was turned down because he was too young as the Marines began suffering horrific losses while battling the Japanese across the Pacific.

The beach was transformed into a massacre by the Japanese, who withheld their fire until after the Marines had arrived: “The beach was just full of everything you can think of – trucks and tanks blew up.”

Just stacked them up, like cordwood, Williams said.

Marines finally reached Mount Suribachi’s summit in time for the most illustrious flag-raising in American history.

Did you realize the flag had been raised? Did Martin question?

Williams responded, “No, he didn’t. “He believed he was burying my head in the sand,”

There was no protection, and although the flag was raised, the war for Iwo Jima was far from ended. If we could find one, we would sprint from shell crater to shell crater until we came to this long line.

The Iwo Jima Campaign

When Williams’ commander went to him, he asked, “Do you think you could do something with the flamethrower?” Japanese machine guns concealed within the pillboxes had been killing the approaching Marines.

What was the intended use of the flamethrower? Martin inquired.

“Light the pillbox on fire so that you may destroy everyone inside of that pillbox.

Williams approached the first pillbox under cover fire from four riflemen while Japanese bullets ricocheted off his flamethrower.

Williams observed a small amount of blue smoke emanating from the top of the pillbox as he looked up. Consequently, I climbed up the pillbox and was able to see a pipe that was almost at eye level,  as reported by CBSnews.