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Hershel 'Woody' Williams - World War II

Hershel 'Woody' Williams grew up on a West Virginia dairy farm during the Great Depression, and joined the Civilian Conservation Corps shortly before the U.S. entry into World War II. Following the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor he hoped to join the Marine Corps, but had to wait until May 1943 when the Corps changed the height requirement. Woody received the Medal of Honor for his actions on Iwo Jima on February 23, 1945. Over a four hour period, and armed with a flame thrower, he took out seven enemy pill boxes. He received the Medal of Honor in October 1945 from President Harry S. Truman, and has spent the rest of his life speaking about his experiences and inspiring younger generations by his example.

Interview Links

Feature Excerpt-Audio

Receiving the Medal of Honor

Abstract

Interview Session (Audio)

Photos

Caption

A Marine poses with a flame thrower during World War II. Woody Williams used it to attack Japanese bunkers on Iwo Jima. Flame throwers proved to be one of the most effective weapons to combat the elaborate series of Japanese bunkers and tunnels.

Where:

Unknown

When:

Circa early 1940s

Ownership:

This image is considered to be in the public domain.

Caption

Hershal ‘Woody’ Williams shortly after he received the Medal of Honor from President Truman on October 5, 1945 at the White House.

Where:

the White House

When:

October 5, 1945

Ownership:

This image is considered to be in the public domain.

Caption

An official military photograph of Hershel ‘Woody’ Williams shortly after receiving the Medal of Honor from President Truman at the White House on October 5, 1945. The photo was later colorized by Richard White.

Where:

the White House

When:

October 5, 1945

Ownership:

May be restricted. Patrons desiring to use this photograph should contact the ALPL Audio-Visual Curator.

Caption

Hershel ‘Woody’ Williams visited the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum on December 3, 2019. Statues of Generals Grant and McClellan can be seen in the background.

Where:

Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum

When:

December 3, 2019

Ownership:

ALPL Oral History Program photo

Caption

Medal of Honor recipient Hershel ‘Woody’ Williams talks with Mark DePue during an event in the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum on December 3, 2019.

Where:

Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum

When:

December 3, 2019

Ownership:

ALPL Oral History Program photo

Caption

Woody Williams makes a point during his on-stage interview with Oral Historian Mark DePue during an event in the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum on December 3, 2019.

Where:

Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum

When:

December 3, 2019

Ownership:

ALPL Oral History Program photo



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