During the thick of World War II, an 18-year-old man by the name of Hershel “Woody” Williams attempted to join up with the Marine Corps, but the local recruiter told the 5-foot-6 dairy farmer there was no way that was going to happen.
“Go home, you’re too short,” he said.
But soon, the height requirement at the time was changed, according to information gleaned from a foundation that is named after Williams, who then went on to join the Marines and earn the Congressional Medal of Honor.
What did he do to receive such an award?
He, all by himself, took out a series of Japanese positions in what is considered to be one of the bloodiest battles of the war on Iwo Jima.
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This larger-than-life hero died Wednesday at the age of 98 years old.
Here’s more from Newsmax:
Williams, the last surviving Medal of Honor recipient from World War Two, died at a hospital in his home state of West Virginia, according to the U.S. military and the Woody Williams Foundation, a nonprofit serving military families.
“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,” U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin remarked in a statement released Wednesday.
In 2017, the U.S. Navy christened the USS Hershel “Woody” Williams, an expeditionary mobile base.
The 1945 battle for the strategic island of Iwo Jima took the lives of 7,000 Marines. When he hit Iwo Jima’s black sands, Williams crawled through piles of dead Marines wrapped in their ponchos and the wreckage of destroyed U.S. tanks to find his company facing the enemy with nothing but bomb craters for cover, according to a 2021 profile of Williams in the Tennessean newspaper.
After the war he worked for what is now the Department of Veterans Affairs for more than 30 years and later established his foundation. He also ran a horse farm in West Virginia.
Our world is in desperate need of heroic men like Williams. It’s sad that our current generation of men don’t have a lot of folks to look up to like that. Let’s say a few prayers for his family tonight.