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Iwo Jima hero visits his ship in Norfolk

Sep 19 2018

Southside Daily Staff |Southside Daily

NORFOLK — Medal of Honor recipient and former CWO4 (Ret.), Hershel ‘Woody’ Williams recently visited Naval Station Norfolk.

Williams toured the USNS Hershel “Woody” Williams for the first time Aug. 6 during his visit.

The Navy said “the ship was named in honor of his heroic actions on Iwo Jima.”

The 784 foot-long vessel features a 52,000 square-foot flight deck, fuel and equipment storage, repair spaces, magazines, and mission-planning spaces. 

Able to accommodate up to 250 personnel, USNS Hershel “Woody” Williams will support multiple missions, such as air mine counter measures, counter-piracy operations, maritime security operations, humanitarian aid and disaster relief missions and crisis response operations.

The ship has hybrid-manned crew with a combination of military personnel and civilian mariners, according to the Navy.

Hershel “Woody” Williams joined the Marine Corps following the attack on Pearl Harbor and, after serving in Guadalcanal and Guam, he joined the campaign in Iwo Jima, according to the Navy.

Two days after arriving on the island, Williams picked up a 70-pound flamethrower and walked ahead of his infantry’s tanks for four hours clearing their path of enemy machine gun fire. His actions resulted in President Harry S. Truman awarding him the Medal of Honor two years later, the Navy said.

Hershel Woody Williams visits the USNS Hershel Woody Williams