Introduced Version House Resolution 5 History

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(By Delegates Caputo, Longstreth and Manchin)




Requesting the Division of Highways to erect signage at each end of Quiet Dell, Harrison County, West Virginia, on Route 310, that states “Home of Hershel Woodrow “Woody” Williams: United States Congressional Medal of Honor Recipient”.

    Whereas, Hershel Woodrow “Woody” Williams was born on October 2, 1923, in Fairmont, West Virginia, growing up on a dairy farm in nearby Quiet Dell, Harrison County; and

    Whereas, Hershel Woodrow “Woody” Williams enlisted in the Marine Corps Reserve in Charleston, West Virginia, on May 26, 1943, and eventually trained as a demolition man and in the use of flame throwers; and

    Whereas, During July and August 1944, Williams participated in action against the Japanese at Guam; and

    Whereas, Williams next tour of duty was at Iwo Jima where he distinguished himself with action for which he would be awarded the Medal of Honor; and

    Whereas, Williams, now a corporal, landed on Iwo Jima on February 21, 1945, and two days later, when American tanks were trying to open a lane for infantry and encountered a network of reinforced pillboxes, buried mines and black volcanic sands, Williams went forward alone with his 70-pound flame thrower in an attempt to reduce the devastating machine-gun fire from the unyielding positions; and

    Whereas, Covered by only four riflemen, Williams fought desperately for hours under terrific enemy small-arms fire, repeatedly returning to his own lines to prepare demolition charges and to obtain serviced flame throwers; and

    Whereas, Following each return to his own lines, Williams struggled back, frequently to the rear of hostile emplacements, to wipe out one position after another; and

    Whereas, On one occasion, Williams daringly mounted a pillbox to insert the nozzle of his flame thrower through the air vent, extinguishing the occupants and silencing the gun; and

    Whereas, On another occasion, Williams grimly charged enemy riflemen who attempted to stop him with bayonets, destroying them with a burst of flame from his weapon; and

    Whereas, Williams 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 objective; and

    Whereas, Williams, on March 6, 1945, was wounded on Iwo Jima and received the Purple Heart; and

    Whereas, On October 5, 1945, the President of the United States, Harry S. Truman, presented the Medal of Honor to Williams 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”; and

    Whereas, Williams retired from the Marine Corps Reserve in 1969 after approximately 17 years of service; and

    Whereas, Williams served as chaplain of the Congressional Medal of Honor Society for 35 years; and

    Whereas, Williams received the West Virginia’s Distinguished Service Medal in 1965 and the Veteran’s Administration Vietnam Service Medal in 1967 for service as a civilian counselor to the Armed Forces; and

    Whereas, The West Virginia National Guard Armory at Fairmont, West Virginia, a bridge at Barboursville, West Virginia, and an athletic field at Huntington, West Virginia, are named in his honor; and

    Whereas, Williams was selected for the City of Huntington Foundations’s “Wall of Fame” in 1999; and

    Whereas, In addition to his many military related activities, Williams was active in his church and community and operated a boarding and training barn for horses at Ona, West Virginia, with his wife, Ruby, and grandson for twenty-seven years; and

    Whereas, Williams’ aggressive fighting spirit and continuing valiant devotion to duty has not gone unnoticed by the President of the United States and several other organizations and should not go unnoticed by this House; therefore, be it

    Resolved by the Legislature of West Virginia:

    That the Division of Highways is hereby requested to cause to have made and be erected signage at either end of Quiet Dell, Harrison County, West Virginia, on Route 310, that states “Home of Hershel Woodrow “Woody” Williams: United States Congressional Medal of Honor Recipient”; and, be it

    Further Resolved, That the Clerk of the House of Delegates forward a certified copy of this resolution to the Commissioner of the Division of Highways, to Hershel Woodrow “Woody” Williams and to Mayor Sandra Hulsey.

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