CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WOWK) — The birthday of late West Virginia icon and the last living World War II Medal of Honor recipient, Hershel “Woody” Williams, is on Sunday. He would have been 99.
Williams was born on Oct. 2, 1923, and grew up in Quiet Dell, West Virginia. He died on June 29, 2022, in Huntington, W.Va. He was 98.
He joined the United States Marine Corps and served in the Battle of Iwo Jima with the 21st Marines, 3d Marine Division.
Williams received the Medal of Honor on October 5, 1945, from President Harry S. Truman for his “actions, commitment to his fellow service members, and heroism,” the Woody Williams Foundation website says.
Following his service in WWII, Williams worked to serve veterans and their families as a Veterans Service Representative for the Department of Veterans Affairs for 33 years.
He also served as the Commandant for the Veterans Nursing Home in Barboursville, West Virginia for almost 10 years and has served on the Governor’s Military Advisory Board for West Virginia.
Williams was named a Distinguished West Virginian in 1980 and in 2013 and is a member of the West Virginia Hall of Fame.
The Huntington VA Medical Center was renamed the Hershel “Woody” Williams VA Medical Center in his honor in 2018.
Williams also founded the Woody Williams Foundation which is a non-profit organization that establishes Gold Star Families Memorial Monuments and conducts outreach programs for Gold Star Families.
In March 2020, the U.S. Navy commissioned a warship, the USS Hershel “Woody” Williams, in his honor in Norfolk, VA.