Saturday, July 2, 2022

And Then There Were None

 Hershel ‘Woody’ Williams, the last WWII Medal of Honor recipient, has passed into the clearing at the end of the path. 

In a desperate four hour battle, accompanied by a handful of other Marines with rifles, Corporal Williams used six different flamethrowers and satchel charges to eliminate a series of interlocking Japanese pillboxes on Iwo Jima. Here's a part of his story in his own words.


Hershel Williams' Medal of Honor Citation

For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty as demolition sergeant serving with the 21st Marines, 3d Marine Division, in action against enemy Japanese forces on Iwo Jima, Volcano Islands, 23 February 1945. Quick to volunteer his services when our tanks were maneuvering vainly to open a lane for the infantry through the network of reinforced concrete pillboxes, buried mines, and black volcanic sands, Cpl. Williams daringly went forward alone to attempt the reduction of devastating machine gun fire from the unyielding positions. Covered only by 4 riflemen, he fought desperately for 4 hours under terrific enemy small-arms fire and repeatedly returned to his own lines to prepare demolition charges and obtain serviced flamethrowers, struggling back, frequently to the rear of hostile emplacements, to wipe out 1 position after another. On 1 occasion, he daringly mounted a pillbox to insert the nozzle of his flamethrower through the air vent, killing the occupants and silencing the gun; on another he grimly charged enemy riflemen who attempted to stop him with bayonets and destroyed them with a burst of flame from his weapon. His unyielding determination and extraordinary heroism in the face of ruthless enemy resistance were directly instrumental in neutralizing one of the most fanatically defended Japanese strong points encountered by his regiment and aided vitally in enabling his company to reach its objective.

Cpl. Williams' aggressive fighting spirit and valiant devotion to duty throughout this fiercely contested action sustain and enhance the highest traditions of the U.S. Naval Service.

Semper Fidelis, Corporal Williams.


Michael said...

Duty, Honor, Country.

Always Faithful.

Rest in Peace and Honor.

It's dusty in here.

Brad_in_IL said...

Cpl Wilson's remains will lie in state at the US Capitol.