Former U.S. Marine Corps Corporal, Hershel “Woody” Williams, the last surviving Medal of Honor recipient from Iwo Jima, will be in PSL on Monday, February 8th. He will be talking with students at North Port Middle School, prior to leading the ground breaking ceremony for the new Gold Star Families Memorial Monument.
The Gold Star Memorial ground breaking ceremony is scheduled to follow at 2pm. The ceremony will be held at Veterans Memorial Park, on Veterans Parkway in Port St. Lucie.
Williams fought with the 3rd Marine Division during the Battle of Guadalcanal. He was later sent to Guam. On February 23, 1945, American tanks were trying to open a lane for the infantry when they encountered a network of reinforced Japanese concrete pillboxes, buried mines, and black volcanic sands. Cpl. Williams went forward with his 70-pound flamethrower in an attempt to reduce the devastating machine gun fire from the fortified enemy positions. Covered by only four riflemen, he continued this arduous task for four hours under heavy enemy small-arms fire. On multiple occasions he returned to his own lines to prepare demolition charges and obtain more flamethrowers. Once resupplied, he returned to the front lines to wipe out one enemy pillbox after another. On one of these returns to the point of the spear of the battle, a wisp of smoke alerted him to an air vent of a Japanese bunker. He approached this heavily fortified position close enough to put the nozzle of his flamethrower through the vent, killing ALL the occupants inside. On yet another occasion, he was charged by multiple enemy riflemen who attempted to stop him with fixed bayonets. He neutralized them by bursts of flame from his weapon.
These actions occurred on the same day as the raising of the U.S. flag on Iwo Jima’s Mount Suribachi. Cpl. Williams fought through the remainder of the five-week-long battle and was wounded on March 6, for which he was awarded the Purple Heart. On October 5, Cpl. Williams was presented the Medal of Honor by President Harry S. Truman in a ceremony at the White House, for his gallantry in fierce battle.
The Gold Star Families Memorial Monument is being sponsored by the Marine Corps League Jack Ivy Det. 666 of Port St. Lucie, the Vietnam Veterans of America, Michael F. Bradley Chapter 566 of St. Lucie County, and the United Veterans of St. Lucie County, Inc. and other veterans’ organizations within St. Lucie County.
The GSFMM committee is proud and excited to bring to the City of PSL this awesome memorial monument, the committee is asking everyone to please consider making a donation to: GOLD STAR FAMILIES MEMORIAL MONUMENT.
Vietnam Veterans of America Michael F. Bradley Chapter 566. is a 501(c) (19) Charitable Organization, CH # 46039, registered under Florida Statue 496.405. A copy of the official registration and financial information may be obtained from the Division of Consumer Services by calling toll free 800-435-7352 within the state. Registration does not imply endorsement, approval, or recommendation by the State. As a not-for-profit organization under Section 501(c) (19) of the IRS Code, donations are tax deductible to the maximum extent allowed by law.