WASHINGTON D.C.: Hershel “Woody” Williams, the final surviving Medal of Honor recipient from World War Two, has died at a hospital in his home state of West Virginia at the age of 98, according to the U.S. military.
Williams earned the Congressional Medal of Honor after single-handedly eliminating a number of Japanese positions during the bloodiest battles on Iwo Jima.
In a statement, U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin said, “Today, America lost not just a valiant Marine and a Medal of Honor recipient, but an important link to our Nation’s fight against tyranny in the Second World War.”
In 2017, the U.S. Navy christened an expeditionary mobile base the USS Hershel “Woody” Williams.
According to a 2021 profile of Williams in The Tennessean newspaper, during the 1945 battle for the strategic island of Iwo Jima, which took the lives of 7,000 Marines, Williams crawled through piles of dead bodies wrapped in their ponchos and the wreckage of destroyed U.S. tanks to find his company, facing the enemy with nothing but bomb craters to take cover in.
After the war, Williams worked for what is now the Department of Veterans Affairs for more than 30 years and later established his foundation.