Nov 10 2020
Jeff Morris | WCHS TV
CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WCHS/WVAH) — West Virginia war hero Woody Williams is helping send a special birthday message to something that is near and dear to his heart – the U.S. Marine Corps.
“I am absolutely proud to be a Marine,” Williams said in a video posted on social media that honors the legacy of the military group as its 245th birthday draws near. “I’m proud of my service. I’m proud of the fact I was in a position to do something to preserve my freedom and hold on to those values that only can be had by free people.”
The 97-year-old war hero’s comments appear in a birthday video message from Gen. David Berger, commandant of the U.S. Marine Corps.
Williams is the last living Medal of Honor recipient from the Battle of Iwo Jima. He was awarded the Medal of Honor for his heroism in that battle that occurred during World War II. Under heavy machine gun fire, he used a flamethrower and set explosives to wipe out seven pillboxes.
Over the years, he also has been recognized with numerous awards and honors. In March, a U.S. Navy ship, USS Hershel “Woody” Williams, was commissioned and named in his honor. He tossed the coin at the Super Bowl in 2018.
He has stayed active helping veterans’ causes. Williams has been backing an effort to have Gold Star family memorial monuments constructed across the country. One was built at the West Virginia Capitol as part of that effort.