Hershel “Woody” Williams, final to obtain Medal of Honor from World Warfare II, will lie in honor at U.S. Capitol

Hershel W. “Woody” Williams, the final remaining Medal of Honor recipient from World Warfare II, will lie in honor on the U.S. Capitol, Home Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Chief Chuck Schumer mentioned Sunday.

A date and different particulars will likely be introduced later, Pelosi and Schumer mentioned in a joint assertion.

“Woody Williams embodied the very best of America: residing a lifetime of responsibility, honor and braveness,” Pelosi mentioned. Schumer mentioned: “Woody Williams was an American hero who embodied the very best of our nation and the best era.”

Williams, who died on Wednesday at 98, was a legend in his native West Virginia for his heroics below fireplace over a number of essential hours on the battle for Iwo Jima. As a younger Marine corporal, Williams went forward of his unit in February 1945 and eradicated a collection of Japanese machine gun positions. Dealing with small-arms fireplace, Williams fought for 4 hours, repeatedly returning to arrange demolition prices and acquire flamethrowers.

Later that yr, the 22-year-old Williams acquired the Medal of Honor from President Harry Truman. The Medal of Honor is the nation’s highest award for navy valor.

Williams remembered the way it felt to realize recognition for his service throughout an interview final yr with CBS Information nationwide safety correspondent David Martin.

“I would by no means heard of the Medal of Honor. I did not know such a factor existed,” Williams mentioned, noting that he was “scared to demise” when a basic first summoned him to the assembly the place he first realized of a mysterious order to report “again to Washington.”

“I by no means even dreamed of with the ability to see a President of the USA, and I am standing shaking palms with him,” Williams recalled. “Now, you speak about a scared second! I used to be a wreck, I actually was!”

Truman places a medal around Williams' neck during a ceremony
Marine Cpl. Hershel “Woody” Williams being offered the Medal of Honor by President Harry S. Truman. 

CBS Information

In remarks at a memorial Sunday in Charleston, West Virginia, U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin mentioned Williams “by no means give up giving again.” That included elevating cash for gold star households — fast members of the family of fallen service members — with an annual bike experience.

“It is raised a whole lot of 1000’s of {dollars},” Manchin mentioned. He joked that “it isn’t going to be stopping, as a result of Woody would come after me in a heartbeat.”

Manchin, a West Virginia Democrat, mentioned he’ll miss Williams’ cellphone calls, noting how Williams would all the time give him instructions and to-do lists.

“I will miss him telling me how I am presupposed to vote. And after I did not, how I made a mistake,” Manchin mentioned.

Gen. David H. Berger, commandant of the U.S. Marine Corps, mentioned on the memorial that Williams all the time took exception to the notion that he completed that feat alone. He all the time acknowledged the opposite males on his crew, a few of whom by no means returned dwelling.

“Woody stands out as the most real individual I ever met,” Berger mentioned, noting his distinctive mixture of humility and humor. “He might make you snicker. He might make you care. That was his present.”

Williams remained within the Marines after the warfare, serving a complete of 20 years, earlier than working for the Veterans Administration for 33 years as a veterans service consultant. In 2018, the Huntington VA medical middle was renamed in his honor, and the Navy commissioned a cell base sea vessel in his identify in 2020.

“He left an indelible mark on our Marine Corps,” Berger mentioned. “So long as there are Marines, his legacy will dwell on.”

Manchin introduced throughout his remarks that Williams would lie in state on the Rotunda, however Pelosi and Schumer mentioned he would lie in honor. The excellence, in response to the Architect of the Capitol, which oversees the constructing, is that authorities officers and navy officers lie in state whereas non-public residents lie in honor.

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