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Hershel Woodrow "Woody" Williams

Date of birth: October 2, 1923
Date of death: Still Living
Place of Birth: West Virginia, Quiet Dell
Home of record: Fairmont West Virginia

AWARDS AND CITATIONS

Medal of Honor

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Awarded for actions during the World War II

The President of the United States of America, in the name of Congress, takes pleasure in presenting the Medal of Honor to Corporal Hershel Woodrow "Woody" Williams, United States Marine Corps Reserve, for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty as demolition sergeant serving with Headquarters Company, First Battalion, Twenty-First Marines, THIRD 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, Corporal Williams daringly went forward alone to attempt the reduction of devastating machinegun fire from the unyielding positions. Covered only by four riflemen, he fought desperately for four 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 one position after another. On one 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. Corporal 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.

Action Date: February 23, 1945

Service: Marine Corps

Rank: Corporal

Company: Headquarters Company

Battalion: 1st Battalion

Regiment: 21st Marines

Division: 3d Marine Division