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Woody Williams leads flamethrower demonstration in Barboursville

Jun 04 2021
Andie Bernhardt | WOWK TV

BARBOURSVILLE, WV (WOWK)—It’s the opportunity of a lifetime for a few lucky folks, and it’s for a very good cause.

Firing a refurbished WWII flamethrower with Woody Williams, who earned the Congressional Medal of Honor while using this model on Iwo Jima in 1945.

“There is nothing cooler than shooting off a real live flame thrower than with a Medal of Honor recipient. We are interacting with someone who actively defended our freedom in World War II,” said Huntington resident Chris Miller.

At age 97, Williams is the last living WWII Medal of Honor recipient, and this day, he could pass on his knowledge and lead the demonstration.

“They’ll never have another opportunity I’m sure, and most of them are rather surprised if you watch their face when they first fire the weapon, how hot it is and how much kick-back it has,” said Williams.

“The fact that Woody today gets to have direct leadership in training me and putting his hands on the flame thrower and help me execute shooting the flame and hitting the target is going to be a very special day for not only myself but I think for Woody,” said Cpt. Matthew Norfleet.

And it was all for a good cause: Supporting the Woody Williams Foundation.

“To be able to be here with the last living medal of honor recipient from WWII. He’s going to be here with today these guys he’s actually going to get to talk to them and they are going to get to learn each of them what he did in Iwo Jima. There’s no words for it,” said range captain Jerry Beckett.