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Woody Williams, the last World War II Medal of Honor hero who fought to protect American freedom

Last week, Hershel "Woody" Williams died at the age of 98, and the United States lost the last survivingWorld War II Medal of Honor. I did. The best decoration of the US military for courage in battle.

Marines, Williams, fought in the Battle of Guam, then in the Battle of Iwo Jima, of his fellow Marines to secure the island, the turning point of the war. I helped pave the way. It is commemorated by a symbolic photograph with theflag on it.

Many Americans are aware of the picture, but most are some of the bloodiest battles of World War II, where the Marines are enthusiastic enemies. I can't imagine the hardships of fighting for five weeks.

Born as the youngest 11-year-old on a dairy farm in Quiet Dell, West Virginia, Williams was initially in military service because he was 5 feet 6 inches and did not meet the (later revised) height requirements. Was rejected. However, he was eventually trained in dismantling and flamethrowers at Camp Pendleton in San Diego.

On Iwo Jima, a Japanese fire from a reinforced concrete pillbox killed a wave of Marines trying to secure a key island for a bombing mission to Japan.

After days of fierce battles, Williams' desperate commander asked him to use a flamethrower to remove the pillbox. He said, "I'll try it," the 21-year-old replied.

Hershel W. "Woody" Williams, then 21-years-old, relentlessly burned down seven pillboxes and cleared territory for American infantry.
Herschel W. "Woody" Williams, then 21 years old, relentlessly burned seven pillboxes to the territory of American infantry. Pioneered.

Williams destroys seven pillboxes with one hand for over four hours, defeating enemy soldiers attacking with bayonets in hand-to-hand combat, toheadquarters. Repeatedly refueled — and fight. With the help of his fellow Marines, who were killed, he paved the way for American tanks and armored vehicles. 

Williams bravely was awarded the Medal of Honor by President Harry S. Truman on October 5, 1945. 

In an interview withlast year,, Williams said they never doubted their success. "Are I afraid? Yes, but courage is stronger than fear, and if we had let us take over fear, we would have ended. Others have courage. I couldn't help but be brave when I saw him. "

Throughout everything, he never lost his humanity.

"We have been told by our parents and teachers that living a life is absolutely wrong, but you are in combat and you have no choice. It's you. Or they. You have to take your life — of course, it affects. I fought the devil for over 20 years. ”

After the war, Williams was a counselor for the Veterans Affairs Department 35. He worked for years, devoted himself to his family and fellow military personnel, and also ran a horse farm, according to Brent Casey, grandson of Huntington, West Virginia. ..

Nearly 20 years ago, Casey, who worked as a military medic in Operation Desert Storm, said in Lexington, Kentucky, "Homeless and unemployed alcoholics deep in PTSD." I was having a hard time as a "symptom". When his grandfather came to his rescue.

President Harry S. Truman awarded the Medal of Honor to Cpl. Hershel ”Woody” Williams in October 1945.
Courtesy of the Medal of Honor of Herschel Williams

Williams said, "It was a solid hand that caught me. To the Department of Veterans Affairs, "recalled Casey. "He made me understand what PTSDis and how to deal with it."

Ten years ago, Williams had grandchildren Brent and Brian. Co-founded the Woodywilliams Foundation ( with Casey. As Brent says, the Foundation has dedicated 103 monuments nationwide to the"Gold Star" American family.

"Everything I have, mentally, emotionally, and physically, thanks to my grandfather."

It was difficult to be the grandson of a hero. "No." Williams "made it easy."

In this Sept. 30, 2018, file photo, Medal of Honor recipient Hershel "Woody" Williams waves to the crowd during the dedication ceremony for the Louisiana Gold Star Families Memorial Monument in Baton Rouge.
Patrick Dennis / Supporters via AP, File

Williams is a 63-year-old beloved wife Lost, Ruby, 2007. He is survived by two daughters, Travie and Tracie, five grandchildren, two great-grandchildren, and one great-grandchild.

He died at the Hershel "Woody" Williams VA Medical Center, his eponymous medical center in Huntington, West Virginia. The USS Hershel "Woody" Williams, a naval vessel commissioned in 2020, is still sailing.

Think about the sacrifice of a peace-loving man who became a soldier to protect him as he enjoyed the blessing of freedom ofat a barbecueand a pool party this July 4th. Let's. Freedom. He didn't want to take his life, but he fought to save his life and freedom for others.

"We loved him," said Cedar Ross, 21, the great-grandson of Williams, a Marine in Camp Pendleton, California. "He did more than anyone could ask for-for this family and this country. He wasn't afraid to show love. He was everyone's hero."

Heather Robinson regularly appears in "Fox Across America" ​​with Jimmy Feira.