24 February 2011

Medal Of Honor Recipient Recalls Battle Of Iwo Jima

Aboard the amphibious assault ship USS Iwo Jima, Hershel "Woody" Williams recalled the bloody Battle of Iwo Jima, in which he earned the Medal of Honor. Williams is the last surviving Medal of Honor recipient from the battle.
Williams' mission that day in 1945 was to help clear a path for his comrades. He braved enemy machine guns, snipers and mines. He did it with a flamethrower.

Gripping a nozzle attached by a hose to a 70-pound tank strapped to his back, he shot the liquid flames into enemy positions for four hours while dodging bullets and repeatedly returning to safer areas to refill his tank.

At one point, he climbed atop a Japanese pillbox and stuck the nozzle of the flamethrower through the pillbox's air vent, killing the troops inside. When enemy riflemen tried to stop him with their bayonets, he charged them and destroyed them with a burst from the flamethrower.

Williams' only protection during the assault came from four Marine riflemen, two of whom were killed that day.

His actions allowed the Marines to push past a key Japanese stronghold. Before the month long fight was won, almost everyone in Williams' unit, the 21st Marine Regiment, 3rd Marine Division, had been killed or wounded. He suffered a shrapnel wound later in the battle.

In all, 6,821 Marines and corpsmen died or went missing on Iwo Jima, and an additional 25,851 were wounded.
By: Shelldrake

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