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Medal of Honor Recipient talks at Ft. Sill

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FT. SILL, Okla._One of the few surviving Marines who earned the Medal of Honor in World War II visited Ft. Sill Thursday. Hershel Williams, or Woody as he likes to be called, visited young marines who are still in training to offer words of advice and to tell some amazing stories.

Hershel "Woody" Williams was awarded the Medal of Honor in 1945 for his actions "above and beyond the call of duty" at Iwo Jima. Two days after landing at Iwo Jima, he distinguished himself by taking out enemy machine gun positions, pillboxes, and enemy soldiers with his flamethrower.

"The first thing out of someone's mouth when they are hit is corpsmen, where are you?" Woody found himself injured with shrapnel in his leg, yelling for a corpsman that came to help him get the shrapnel out, which Woody kept

"Then he put a tag on my lapel, that's where they would tag you and say ok you're out. So he put a tag on me, you gotta go back."

He told the corpsman he wasn't going back but the corpsman told him he had to. "Well he started to walk away and I said I don't have a tag on me, he turned around and I can't repeat what he said to me but anyway, I stayed."

For woody, he loves talking to the marines and telling stories. "For 1, it makes me feel young. I asked a number of them how old are you, you, and you, and you. They all kept saying 18, 18, 18...good grief I would love to go back to 18 again." Woody joined the Marine Corps at 19, a member of the greatest generation.

Colonel Wayne Harrison understands how important these heroes from that generation are, "We as Americans have to remember that this was the greatest generation and they won't be around for years to come."

"Every single word he said it felt like it was coming from a man who had been through a lot," said Pfc. Otilio Martinez.

For Woody though, he doesn't see much difference between the greatest generation of Marines and today's Marines, "The procedure is different, but so far as the dedication, and the willingness, and the determination to succeed and overcome and win. I don't see any difference. They still got it."

Woody says the real heroes are the ones that lost their lives during the war. He is working to get a national monument for the gold star families who lost loved ones during wartime. Next year, will be the last year the Iwo Jima Survivors Association will meet and possibly the last time Woody will speak to Marines at Ft. Sill.

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