Hershel “Woody” Williams Medal of Honor WWII

Funeral photos and much more below. Some videos are still in editing. Check back for new uploads.

The Marine Corps does a “fly over” at Woody’s funeral memorial
Last Salute’s cannons the “Jaime Lee” and “Mike D” roar in an artillery salute to Hershel “Woody” Willaims during his memorial funeral service on July 3rd 2022
Last Salute’s commander Chuck Knutson instructs Medal of Honor recipient Hershel “Woody” Williams on how to fire the memorial Civil War cannon the “Jaime Lee”

A true American hero. Hershel “Woody” Williams has passed. The last remaining WWII Medal of Honor recipient. A legend in the United States Marine Corps. Woody received the nation’s highest honor for his selfless and incredibly brave acts on Iwo Jima. He was awarded the Medal of Honor by then President, Harry S. Truman.

Woody’s daughter Tracie adds her hero father’s photo/prayer card to Last Salute’s perpetual caisson, the “Prayer Box”. He now joins more than 1000 others he has honored inside this most sacred ark.
Last Salute’s Chuck Knutson holds the Prayer Box with Hershel “Woody” Williams

Last Salute was extremely honored to know Woody. He worked tirelessly to help his fellow veterans. He helped Last Salute honor those we carry in our “Prayer Box” and fired the cannon in their honor.

Hershel “Woody” Williams, WWII Medal of Honor recipient signs Last Salute’s “Caissson” Humvee to honor those it carries.
5 Medal of Honor recipients hold Last Salute’s Prayer Box to honor those inside. Hershel “Woody” Williams is center holding the Prayer Box
FUNERAL MEMORIAL VIDEO

Here are photos from Woody’s memorial funeral service on July 3rd 2022

Major General James Livingston fires Last Salute’s cannon, the “Jaime Lee” to honor Hershel “Woody” Williams at his memorial service in Charleston West Virginia

Below, is the citation detailing why Hershel “Woody” Williams was awarded the Medal of Honor

For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty as demolition sergeant serving with the 21st Marines, 3d Marine Division, in action against enemy Japanese forces on Iwo Jima, Volcano Islands, 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, Cpl. 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 flamethrowers, 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 flamethrower through the air vent, killing the occupants, and silencing 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 strongpoints encountered by his regiment and aided vitally in enabling his company to reach its objective. Cpl. Williams’ aggressive fighting spirit and valiant devotion to duty throughout this fiercely contested action sustain and enhance the highest traditions of the U.S. Naval Service.

Woody stands with fellow Medal of Honor recipients Gary Beikirch, Robert Patterson, General Livingston, and Joe Marm. Also in photo are Last Salute commander Chuck Knutson and member Josh O’Connor
Hershel "Woody" Williams fires the "Jaime Lee"
Hershel “Woody” Williams fires the “Jaime Lee”

Prayer Box at Parris Island

Last Salute Military Funeral Honor Guard

On May 3rd 2022 at 0400 hours members of Last Salute military funeral honor guard were picked up at the honor guards headquarters by the United States Marine Corps and flown to Parris Island South Carolina, the legendary location of the Marine Corps “Boot Camp”.

Last Salute and the Marine Corps joined together on a mission to honor all the fallen heroes placed into Last Salute’s Prayer Box by their families.

Each and every prayer card, photo and keepsake including many dog tags were carefully placed into an “assault pack” (military back pack). The pack was carried for the next 5 days by a member of Last Salute.

Last Salute Military Funeral Honor Guard

This was no ordinary simple visit to Parris Island. Last Salute and the Marine Corps wanted to honor the heroes from within the prayer box in a special way.

The assault pack and prayer box heroes were carried for recruit receiving, standing on the infamous “yellow foot prints”, morning colors at the depot’s headquarters, participation in rifle fire simulation with the new technology system, participation in live fire rifle qualification on “A” range, present at swim qualification instruction, carried over and though obstacles on the obstacle course, carried over or through more obstacles at the “crucible”, carried through the gas chamber, present for “chow” at recruit training and Fleet Marine chow halls, present for honors at the officers club on Parris Island and the officers club aboard Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort South Carolina, carried across the flight deck and through hangars at the air station, present at the rappelling tower on Paris Island for instruction and display, walked through a number of recruit squad bays and barracks, both depot houses of worship and was even “knife handed” by a Marine Drill instructor. There were other events and exercises in which the assault pack was carried including the much dreaded “I.T.” session (AKA “quarterdecked”, “rose garden”, “the pit”, “intensive training”). The drill instructor showed little mercy as he yelled for more pushups, sit ups, jumping jacks (side straddle hops”) and mountain climbers.

The visit to Parris Island concluded with attendance at a recruit graduation ceremony.

During the visit those within the prayer box were photographed and honored by many including the Commanding General and head chaplain.

Last Salute has made a solemn promise to carry forward and honor the many heroes which loved ones have placed into our prayer box. This visit to Parris Island and the air station are part of that commitment.

MICHAEL D. DIFRANCESCO

Mike was a great and giving man and it was our extreme honor to conduct a military funeral ceremony for him and his family.

2 photographers took over 500 photographs which are displayed in 2 separate galleries below. There is also a slideshow video as well as a copy of the ceremonies complete uncut video which was live streamed and viewed by many people as it happened.

Last Salute Fires a Mountain Howitzer 12 Pounder Civil War Cannon At Every Ceremony.
We have been Honored to have our cannon fired by Medal of Honor recipients,
Senators, Congressmen, The Attorney General of The United States, Mayors,
Police Chiefs, Fire Chiefs and uniformed family members of the Heroes we honor

In July of 2021 Dr. Ira Trocki made a donation to Last Salute
so that the Honor Guard could get a second cannon to expand its service
to other areas. The cannon was completed and delivered 8 November 2021
The museum quality cannon built by the contractor for the National Park Service


was about to be named and christened. Upon hearing of Mike’s passing
Dr. Trocki called Last Salute and asked us if we could name the new cannon
after Mike…. We could not think of a better way to honor Mike’s legacy.
The new cannon will be christened the “Mike D” and will be fired by Medal of
Honor recipients each year at The MCLEF event as well as many future ceremonies.