Skip to content

In the News

West Virginia Medal of Honor recipient Woody Williams turns 98

Oct 01 2021
WV News

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WV News) — Gov. Jim Justice and James Hoyer, retired adjutant general of the West Virginia National Guard, took time to celebrate Woody Williams’ 98th birthday Friday.

Justice first mentioned the birthday of the World War II Medal of Honor recipient during the governor’s pandemic briefing, showering praise on the retired Marine Corps chief warrant officer 4.

Williams, the only living WWII II Medal of Honor recipient, then was lauded by Hoyer, who ended his military career as a West Virginia National Guard major general.

Williams was “a mentor for me throughout my time in the leadership of the National Guard, a great American. I call him a national treasure,” Hoyer said. “That’s Woody Williams. Not just for the heroic actions at Iwo Jima, that led to the ... Medal of Honor, but for the work that he’s done tirelessly since he left the service and became part of the VA and a veterans advocate for all of his life, and all he’s done for our Gold Star families, particularly our Gold Star Mothers.”

Williams was born Hershel W. Williams on Oct. 2, 1923, in Marion County. During a four-hour period while under “terrific enemy small-arms fire,” he wiped out a network of Japanese concrete pillboxes at Iwo Jima, using his flamethrower and demolition charges.

Williams is two years older than the next living Medal of Honor recipient, Hiroshi H. Miyamura, who fought in Korea.