Victoria_Cross_of_canada

THE

 

TO THE VICTORIA & GEORGE CROSS

COMPREHENSIVE GUIDE

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b. 02/10/1923 Quiet Dell, West Virginia.

 

DATE OF MOH ACTION: 23/02/1945 Iwo Jima, Japan.

 

Williams, the youngest of eleven children, was born and raised on a dairy farm in Quiet Dell, West Virginia, on October 2, 1923. He worked a series of odd jobs in the area, including as a truck driver for W.S. Harr Construction Company of Fairmont, West Virginia and as a taxi driver. When Pearl Harbor was attacked, he was working in Montana as a Civilian Conservation Corps enrollee.

 

Williams tried to enlist in the Marine Corps in 1942, but was told he was too short for service. After the height regulations were changed in early 1943, he successfully enlisted in the Marine Corps Reserve in Charleston, West Virginia, on May 26.

 

Williams received his recruit training at Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego, California. Upon completion, he was sent to the Camp Elliott training center in San Diego, where he joined the tank training battalion on August 21, 1943. The following month he was transferred to the training center's infantry battalion for instruction as a demolition man and in the use of flamethrowers.

 

Williams was assigned to the 32nd Replacement Battalion on October 30, 1943, and left for New Caledonia in the southwest Pacific on December 3 aboard the M.S. Weltey Reden. In January 1944, he joined Company C, 1st Battalion, 21st Marine Regiment, 3rd Marine Division at Guadalcanal. In July and August 1944, he was attached to Headquarters Company and participated in action against the Japanese during the Battle of Guam. In October, he rejoined Company C.

 

n September 1945, he returned to the United States, and on October 1 he joined Marine Corps Headquarters in Washington, D.C. He and thirteen other servicemen were presented the Medal of Honor by President Harry S. Truman on October 5, 1945, at the White House.

 

On October 22, 1945, he was transferred to the Marine Barracks, Naval Training Center Bainbridge, Maryland, for discharge. He was honorably discharged from the Marine Corps Reserve on November 6, 1945.

 

In March 1948, he reenlisted in the inactive Marine Corps Reserve, but was again discharged on August 4, 1949.

 

On October 20, 1954, he joined the Organized Marine Reserve when the 98th Special Infantry Company was authorized by Headquarters Marine Corps to be located at Clarksburg, West Virginia. He transferred to the Marine Corps Reserve's 25th Infantry Company in Huntington, West Virginia on June 9, 1957, later becoming the (Interim) Commanding Officer of that unit as a warrant officer on June 6, 1960. He was designated the Mobilization Officer for the 25th Infantry Company and surrounding Huntington area on June 11, 1963.

 

He was advanced through the warrant officer ranks during his time in the Marine Corps Reserve until reaching his final rank of Chief Warrant Officer 4 (CWO4). Although CWO4 Williams technically did not meet retirement requirements, he was honorarily retired from the Marine Corps Reserve in 1969 after approximately 17 years of service.

 

MOH CITATION:

 

For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty as Demolition Sergeant serving with the First Battalion, Twenty-First Marines, Third Marine Division, in action against enemy Japanese forces on Iwo Jima, Volcano Island, 23 February 1945. Quick to volunteer his services when our tanks were maneuvering vainly to open a lane for the infantry through the network of reinforced concrete pillboxes, buried mines and black, volcanic sands, Corporal Williams daringly went forward alone to attempt the reduction of devastating machine-gun fire from the unyielding positions. Covered only by four riflemen, he fought desperately for four hours under terrific enemy small-arms fire and repeatedly returned to his own lines to prepare demolition charges and obtain serviced flame throwers, struggling back, frequently to the rear of hostile emplacements, to wipe out one position after another. On one occasion he daringly mounted a pillbox to insert the nozzle of his flame thrower through the air vent, kill the occupants and silence the gun; on another he grimly charged enemy riflemen who attempted to stop him with bayonets and destroyed them with a burst of flame from his weapon. His unyielding determination and extraordinary heroism in the face of ruthless enemy resistance were directly instrumental in neutralizing one of the most fanatically defended Japanese strong points encountered by his regiment and aided in enabling his company to reach its' [sic] objective. Corporal Williams' aggressive fighting spirit and valiant devotion to duty throughout this fiercely contested action sustain and enhance the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Herschel Woodrow Williams

WILLIAMS H W