96-Year-Old Iwo Jima War Hero Sees Navy Ship Commissioned in His Name

Via:  john-russell  •  one month ago  •  5 comments

96-Year-Old Iwo Jima War Hero Sees Navy Ship Commissioned in His Name


by   Associated Press   via   TIME

(NORFOLK, Va.) — A 96-year-old war hero looked on as military officials commissioned a U.S. Navy warship in honor of the veteran, the last surviving Medal of Honor recipient from the Battle of Iwo Jima.

The USS Hershel “Woody” Williams was commissioned Saturday in Norfolk, Virginia, with the World War II veteran present.

The USS Williams is an Expeditionary Sea Base ship that was built and launched in 2017. With its commissioning, the vessel’s designation changed from a support ship to a warship, and command transferred from the Military Sealift Command to Naval Surface Force Atlantic.

Williams described the commissioning as “a moment in history that is beyond my comprehension.”


Kenny Kemp–Charleston Gazette-Mail/AP The U.S.S.  Hershel “Woody” Williams  in port at Norfolk, Va. for the commissioning ceremony Saturday, March 7, 2020.

“May all those who serve aboard this ship that bears my name be safe and proud. May she have God’s blessings for a long life of service to America, the greatest country on Earth,” he said.

U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin delivered the principal address at Saturday’s ceremony, praising his fellow West Virginian as “West Virginia strong through and through.”

“I have never had a more prestigious honor to be able to be here with a person who is truly an American hero,” Manchin said.

Other speakers included Marine Corps Commandant Gen. David Berger, Assistant Secretary of the Navy James Geurts, U.S. Rep. Elaine Luria and Rear Adm. Roy Kitchener, commander of Naval Surface Force Atlantic.

“This ship, by design, is intended to go over the horizon and into harm’s way and I am confident they will do so, combat ready and battle-minded,” Kitchener said.

The ship will primarily support aviation mine countermeasure and special operations missions, freeing up amphibious warships and surface combatant ships for more demanding operational missions.

Williams received his medal for actions as a demolition sergeant with the 3d Marine Division in February 1945. As U.S. tanks tried to open a lane for infantry amid pillboxes and buried mines, he went forward alone seeking to reduce enemy machine gun fire.

Covered by only four riflemen, Williams fought for hours, returning repeatedly to his own lines to prepare demolition charges and obtain flamethrowers to wipe out enemy positions. On one occasion, he mounted a pillbox to insert the nozzle of his flamethrower through the air vent, killing the occupants and silencing the gun.


Hershel   Woodrow " Woody "   Williams   (born October 2, 1923) is a retired United States Marine Corps warrant officer and United States Department of Veterans Affairs veterans service representative who received the United States military 's highest decoration for valor—the   Medal of Honor   —for heroism above and beyond the call of duty during the   Battle of Iwo Jima   in World War II.


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jrDiscussion - desc
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1  seeder  JohnRussell    one month ago

It's great this hero is alive to see it. 

The youngest veterans of Iwo Jima are 93 or 94 years old now. 

2  Kavika     one month ago

Semper Fi Cpl. Williams.

2.1  1stwarrior  replied to  Kavika @2    one month ago

Echoing that. Thanks for your selfless service and shining example as a warrior.

Semper Fi Cpl Williams.

Jeremy Retired in NC
3  Jeremy Retired in NC    one month ago

These are the heroes that need to be in the lime light more.  Not the clueless athletes or the morons in Hollywood and Washington D.C..  

This man risked EVERYTHING for his country and his fellow Sailors.  Very few can say that.

Long overdue but a great day nonetheless.

Cpl WIlliams, as a retired Army SFC, I am eternally in your debt.  This country owes you a very large debt of gratitude.  Commissioning this ship in your name should be evidence of that.  Thank you for your honorable and selfless service.

Paula Bartholomew
3.1  Paula Bartholomew  replied to  Jeremy Retired in NC @3    one month ago

I am also a retired Army SFV and I am sooooo proud of this man.  Semper Fi Marine.


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