Sole survivor of WWII Medal of Honor Marine deploys flamethrower on veteran’s picnic

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The only surviving World War II Marine Medal of Honor recipient took part in a fervent display of admiration for war veterans in West Virginia — using the same weapon he wielded in solo acts of bravery during the Battle of Iwo Jima.

Hershel “Woody” Williams, 97, fired off a few full-automatic and single-shot rounds at Harris Riverfront Park on Saturday, but the real thrill was his flamethrower exhibit.

He held on to part of the weapon as flamethrower expert Charles Hobson fired a volley over the Ohio River. WOWKTV reported.

The living WWII legend used a flamethrower during the Battle of Iwo Jima on February 23, 1945, in a series of exploits straight out of a war movie.

While American tanks maneuvered “vainly” to clear a lane for infantry, Williams only advanced “to try and reduce the devastating machine-gun fire from the unyielding positions,” he said. Medal of Honor Quote says.

Covered only by four gunners, he fought desperately for four hours under terrible enemy small arms fire and repeatedly returned to his own lines to prepare wrecking charges and obtain maintained flamethrowers’ and continued to retreat ‘to the rear of enemy emplacements from one position after another.’

Hershel 'Woody' Williams, 97, (left) held part of the flamethrower as flamethrower expert Charles Hobson shot it in the Ohio River, WOWKTV reported

Hershel ‘Woody’ Williams, 97, (left) held part of the flamethrower as flamethrower expert Charles Hobson shot it in the Ohio River, WOWKTV reported

Williams (right) has continued to support military veterans and their families.  Pictured here in West Virginia after a flamethrower demonstration

Williams (right) has continued to support military veterans and their families. Pictured here in West Virginia after a flamethrower demonstration

Williams, 97, fired off a pair of fully automatic and single-shot rounds at Harris Riverfront Park, West Virginia on Saturday

Williams, 97, fired off a pair of fully automatic and single-shot rounds at Harris Riverfront Park, West Virginia on Saturday

In a single act of bravery, “he grimly commanded enemy gunmen who tried to stop him with bayonets and destroyed them with a flame from his weapon.”

In another place, he mounted a ‘pill box’ – a raised hexagonal concrete protector fitted with small holes for soldiers to shoot from – and thrust the beam of his flamethrower through the vent, ‘killing the occupants and silencing the gun. ‘

“They dug caves called bunkers to protect the island, and they were built so that mortars and artillery couldn’t hit them,” Williams said after the demonstration, which was captured on video by WOWKTV.

“So the enemy can stay in those bunkers, and the flamethrower was the only way to really get through. After taking out the enemy in the bunker, you had to detonate an explosive to make sure they wouldn’t survive.’

He said the flamethrower used in the demonstration is exactly the same as the flamethrower he used in the war, except he “didn’t have all the gauges on it for safety,” Williams said. WOWKTV after the demonstration.

Hershel Woodrow Williams — pictured here saluting as he is presented on stage along with other members of the Ship Commissioning Commission on March 7, 2020 in Norfolk, Virginia — has helped military veterans and their families for decades

Hershel Woodrow Williams — pictured here saluting as he is presented on stage along with other members of the Ship Commissioning Commission on March 7, 2020 in Norfolk, Virginia — has helped military veterans and their families for decades

The demonstration was part of a weekend event honoring military veterans

The demonstration was part of a weekend event honoring military veterans

Williams, seen in the blue hat, spoke to the only Sea Cadets unit in the state of West Virginia

Williams, seen in the blue hat, spoke to the only Sea Cadets unit in the state of West Virginia

Williams, who was awarded the Medal of Honor by President Harry Truman on October 5, 1945, continued his service to his country and his colleagues did not stop there.

To date, Woody and his foundation are responsible for establishing 85 Gold Star Families Memorial Monuments in the United States, with more than 75 additional monuments in the works in 50 states and one U.S. territory.

In 2018, a naval vessel entering service was named in his honor — the USS Hershel ‘Woody’ Williams — and the same year, the Huntington VA Medical Center, near Woody’s West Virginia home, was renamed The Hershel ‘Woody’ Williams. VA Medical Center.

In his hometown of Fairmont, West Virginia, the Hershel ‘Woody’ Williams Armed Forces Reserve Center is the only National Guard facility in the country named after a Marine.

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