QUIET DELL, WV (WOWK) – Medal of Honor Recipient and World War II Veteran Hershel “Woody” Williams died at the age of 98 on Wednesday, June 29, 2022. Born Oct. 2, 1923, in Quiet Dell in Marion County, West Virginia, Williams was the last surviving World War II Medal of Honor recipient.
Williams died early this morning at the VA hospital named in his honor, the Hershel “Woody” Williams VA Medical Center.
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 the US Marine Corps, Williams dedicated his life to serving, supporting and honoring his fellow veterans, service members and their families.
Throughout the morning, tributes honoring Williams have been flooding social media both in his home state and across the nation.
The U.S. Marine Corps has also released a statement on William’s passing, saying “Today, the Marine Corps pauses to honor Woody’s legacy and contributions to the Corps and fellow Marines.”
“On behalf of all Marines, Sgt. Maj. Black and I are heartbroken to learn of Woody’s passing. From his actions on Iwo Jima to his lifelong service to our Gold Star Families, Woody has left an indelible mark on the legacy of our Corps. As the last of America’s “Greatest Generation” to receive the Medal of Honor, we will forever carry with us the memory of his selfless dedication to those who made the ultimate sacrifice to our great Nation. The Marine Corps is fortunate to have many heroes, but there is only one Woody Williams. Semper Fidelis, Marine.”Gen. David H. Berger, Commandant of the Marine Corps.
The Congressional Medal of Honor Society also released a statement on behalf of the 63 surviving Medal of Honor recipients
“Growing up in Quiet Dell, friends and family of Woody Williams knew him as a West Virginia farmer’s son and the youngest of 11 children who dutifully supported his family after his father died.
Fellow Marines knew him as the corporal who volunteered for a mission on Iwo Jima to clear a lane through enemy pillboxes that were destroying American tanks.
Veterans in West Virginia knew him as their advocate through his work as a Veterans Service Representative.
Gold Star families knew Woody through his work raising money for scholarships and other programs through the Woody Williams Foundation.
And the nation knew him as a hero and the last living World War II Recipient of the Medal of Honor.
We, his fellow Medal of Honor Recipients, knew him as our friend and one of our heroes. We will miss him greatly.
Semper Fi and Godspeed, Woody.”Congressional Medal of Honor Society
Local organizations, first responders and leaders have also shared tributes remembering William’s enduring legacy.
“The entire West Virginia National Guard is deeply saddened by the loss of Woody and we send our condolences to the family, friends and all those who knew and loved him. For the entirety of his life, Woody has demonstrated valor, humility, kindness and an unwavering dedication to veterans and Gold Star Families. Through his advocacy work with the Woody Williams Foundation, he has impacted thousands upon thousands of lives by advancing the cause for Gold Star Family recognition and numerous veteran’s issues. Woody was a true friend of the West Virginia National Guard and his life inspired so many within our ranks. I am blessed to have had the opportunity to work with Woody and his foundation and for all that he has done for West Virginia, our United States military and for Gold Star Families across the United States. He will forever be an example of the embodiment of West Virginia values and is a hero to not only us, but so many across the country. Our hope is that Woody’s life and service will continue to inspire future generations of West Virginians to serve and serve others for as he would say, ‘The cause is greater than I.” Semper Fi, Woody.”Maj. Gen. William “Bill” Crane, the Adjutant General of the West Virginia National Guard
“Today we remember Hershel “Woody” Williams, the last World War II Medal of Honor recipient and member of Hershel ‘Woody’ Williams VFW Post 7048. A true hero who leaves a lasting legacy of honor for his commitment to his fellow veterans, service members and their families. #VFWSalute“Veterans of Foreign Wars
“Sadly we at the Milton Police Department and the City of Milton mourn the loss of a great man, Woody Williams. A humble servant to all veterans and a joy to be around. Always made you feel better just being around him and always smiling. Rest easy Woody, we’ll take it from here.”Milton Police Department
“Today we would like to send our condolences to the Williams family. A West Virginian & American Hero. Thank you for your service Sir. RIP may God bless your family. – Sheriff William F. Nunley”Nicholas County Sheriff William F. Nunley
“The last living World War II Medal of Honor recipient…a man of lifelong service to others…a man who saved lives and impacted them…a true American hero.”West Virginia State Fire Marshal’s Office
“Our thoughts and prayers are with the family and friends of Hershel “Woody” Williams, a WWII Medal of Honor Recipient. He was a true American Hero and we always enjoyed seeing him when he would participate in the Annual Armed Forces Day Parade here in South Charleston.”South Charleston Chamber of Commerce
“It is with great sadness, that we share news of the passing of a true American Hero, Medal of Honor Recipient & WWII Veteran Hershel “Woody” Williams. We thank you for your service to our country, our state, and our community. We are all inspired by your heroism, your achievements, and generosity.”City of St. Albans
“We are saddened to learn of the passing of Medal of Honor Recipient & WWII Veteran Hershel “Woody” Williams. We had the honor and privilege of working closely with Woody over the years. He accompanied the team to several military conventions to promote Charleston and the State of West Virginia.
Woody was an inspiration to all and a true hero. Join us in remembering this great hero by visiting the Woody Williams Foundation, https://woodywilliams.org/, to learn more about his work with Gold Star Families across the country.”Charleston, WV Convention and Visitors Bureau
“Rest in Peace, Sir. It was truly on honor to have you at our Ripley 4th of July Celebrations.”City of Ripley, WV
“Today, the Cabell County Schools family fondly salutes Congressional Medal of Honor Recipient, and our friend, Hershel “Woody” Williams. In addition to his heroic military service, the Cabell County resident spent his life serving his community. Mr. Williams regularly visited with children to encourage them to pursue excellence and helped the district launch the Congressional Medal of Honor Foundation’s “Heroes Among Us” Character Development Program for middle school students. We are all better for having known this great man.”Cabell County Schools
“Culloden VFD would like to send our condolences, thoughts and prayers to the family and friends of this true hero, Hershel Woodrow “Woody” Williams. Rest in peace sir! Thank you for your service, sacrifice and dedication.”Culloden Volunteer Fire Department
“We are saddened to hear of the passing of a true American Hero. Rest In Peace Hershel Woody Williams.”Firefighters of Huntington, WV
“This morning, we lost a true hero. Hershel “Woody” Williams was WV’s last living Medal of Honor Recipient from WWII. Semper Fi Sir!!!”Fayette County Sheriff’s Office
“Woody William’s devotion to service members, veterans and their families was remarkable. He was a true American hero, and his commitment to our service members will live on at CRW through the Woody Williams Military flight Operations Center.
He will be greatly missed by many, and his legacy will live on in the hearts of West Virginians, Veterans and all service members who pass through West Virginia International Yeager Airport. Our heartfelt condolences go out to his beloved family and all who mourn this tremendous loss.”Yeager Airport Director and CEO Nick Keller and the West Virginia International Yeager Airport
“Marshall University mourns the loss of an American hero, an incredible West Virginian and WWII Medal of Honor Recipient, Hershel ‘Woody’ Williams. We thank you, Woody, for all you did for our great country.”Marshall University
“The world lost a great man today. We want to express our sincere condolences to his family, friends and all who loved him. Thank you Woody Williams for your sacrifice and your service.”Cabell Huntington Hospital