On Sunday, Medal of Honor recipient Woody Williams did the honor of tossing the coin right before the Super Bowl between the Philadelphia Eagles and the New England Patriots. Now, word is getting out on how Williams received his Medal of Honor, and it’s more incredible than anybody could imagine.
Corporal Hershel Woodrow “Woody” Williams was one of the 110,000 Marines who fought gallantly on the volcanic island of Iwo Jima in Japan.
On Feb. 23, 1945, U.S. tanks were desperate to create a lane for U.S. infantry but were having trouble due to a “network of reinforced concrete pillboxes, buried mines, and black volcanic sands.”
Williams decided to take matters into his own hands.
The citation from his Medal of Honor reads, “Cpl. Williams daringly went forward alone to attempt the reduction of devastating machine-gun fire from the unyielding positions.”
“Covered only by 4 riflemen, he fought desperately for 4 hours under terrific enemy small-arms fire and repeatedly returned to his own lines to prepare demolition charges and obtain serviced flamethrowers, struggling back, frequently to the rear of hostile emplacements, to wipe out 1 position after another,” the citation continues.
He wasn’t done yet though.
“On 1 occasion, he daringly mounted a pillbox to insert the nozzle of his flamethrower through the air vent, killing the occupants and silencing the gun; on another he grimly charged enemy riflemen who attempted to stop him with bayonets and destroyed them with a burst of flame from his weapon.”
The citation concludes by describing exactly why he deserved the honor:
“His unyielding determination and extraordinary heroism in the face of ruthless enemy resistance were directly instrumental in neutralizing one of the most fanatically defended Japanese strong points encountered by his regiment and aided vitally in enabling his company to reach its objective. Cpl. Williams’ aggressive fighting spirit and valiant devotion to duty throughout this fiercely contested action sustain and enhance the highest traditions of the U.S. Naval Service.”
Amazingly, Williams’ heroic actions happened the same day Marines hoisted the flag atop Iwo Jima.
Woody Williams, and the other men and women who have fought around the world to keep our freedoms, most certainly deserve to be honored.
That’s why so many people have taken issue with the NFL players kneeling during our national anthem. Our veterans have sacrificed so much for our freedoms — the least we can do is honor them by standing for the flag and what it stands for.
So, Corporal Williams, we salute you as well for your heroism in the face of tremendous difficulty. You truly are a great American.
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