CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) – A charter flight left West Virginia International Yeager Airport this afternoon to take the family of the late Hershel “Woody” Williams to Washington, D.C. where the World War II Medal of Honor recipient will lie in honor at the U.S. Capitol Rotunda.

According to airport officials, the flight was chartered by American Airlines and left this afternoon, Wednesday, July 13 around 3 p.m.. Yeager Airport says the flight followed the West Virginia Air National Guard C-130 flight that carried Williams to Washington D.C.

“To be able to assist with the departure out of CRW is a true honor. William’s devotion to this country and all those he served is beyond remarkable.,” said CRW Director and CEO Nick Keller. “He’s an American hero who will be missed by many.”

A procession of police vehicles escorted Williams to Yeager Airport. From there, he was transported onto a West Virginia National Guard C-130 Military Aircraft.

The procession included Cabell County Sheriff Department, who said it was an honor to be able to serve Williams one more time.

“It means a lot. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity. Obviously, there are no more of these WWII Medal of Honor Recipients left. In light of everything going on, it’s a great honor and great privilege,” said Josh Parsons, with Cabell County Sheriff Department. “It’s been very refreshing to see the honor and respect that has been shown for Woody Williams throughout this process. And I’m very grateful for his service.”

Parsons also shared a memory of Williams, which will stick with him for many years to come.

“We were doing just another escort and he said, ‘which one of you wants to play president for the day?’ Parsons said. “He pulled out one of his famous challenge coins he has, and flipped it and said, ‘one of you call it.’ And I think another officer called it, and he did not get it correct. So, I had the opportunity and privilege, which was pretty cool, to put the medal of honor on him.”

Williams, who was the last surviving WWII Medal of Honor recipient, died Wednesday, June 29, 2022 at the age of 98. Williams also lied in honor at the West Virginia State Capitol from July 2 until his funeral on July 3, which was held at the Culture Center at the Capitol Complex.

Williams is scheduled to begin lying in honor at the Capitol Rotunda at 10:30 a.m. on Thursday, July 14.

“We are tremendously proud to do our part in honoring Woody Williams and his heroic legacy of sacrifice and service,” said Randy Stillinger, manager of Military and Veterans Initiatives for American Airlines. “With the help of our team members across the country, we will see that Woody’s family is well taken care of on their journey to Washington D.C. where Woody will be honored by a grateful nation. While a hero from our Greatest Generation has passed, we reinforce our commitment to the Woody Williams Foundation and continue to support his heartfelt mission to care for families of the fallen.”

Williams 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.

Virginia Hall of Fame. The Huntington VA Medical Center was also 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.

Williams was preceded in death by his wife Ruby in 2007. He is survived by his two daughters.