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Pendleton-trained, last WWII Medal of Honor hero to lie in honor at US Capitol

Last WWII Medal of Honor recipient, Camp Pendleton-trained Marine to lie in honor at US Capitol
Posted at 2:46 PM, Jul 05, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-05 20:23:16-04

OCEANSIDE, Calif. (KGTV) - A Camp Pendleton-trained Marine veteran and the last Medal of Honor hero from World War II will lie in honor in the US Capitol.

According to a joint statement from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, Hershel ‘Woody’ Williams will lie in honor in the Capitol rotunda.

“Woody Williams embodied the best of America: living a life of duty, honor and courage,” Pelosi said.

Schumer said: “Woody Williams was an American hero who embodied the best of our country and the greatest generation.”

Williams, the last remaining World War II Medal of Honor recipient passed away last week at the age of 98.

“Certainly we are honored,” said grandson Bryan Casey. “It’s an amazing tribute."

Williams joined the Marines in 1943. He trained at Camp Pendleton, before being sent to Guadalcanal.

In February 1945, he and his unit landed at Iwo Jima.

“His actions on Iwo Jima were nothing short of heroic. He exemplified courage and bravery,” said Casey.

As a young corporal, Williams went ahead of his unit and under fire, eliminated a series of Japanese machine gun positions, with flamethrowers and demolition charges.

Later that year, Williams received the Medal of Honor from President Harry Truman.

“He credits the four who provided cover fire and wore the Medal in Honor of the two who lost their lives,” said Casey.

In the decades that followed, Williams became an advocate for veterans. He started a foundation that helped create Gold Star memorials. Casey is a foundation Board member.

“Woody spent his life dedicated to serving others,” said Casey.

After his death, the American Legion petitioned to have him lie in honor at the Capitol. Such honors are usually reserved for presidents and other prominent public servants. In this case, honoring the last Medal of Honor hero from World War II will mean a chance to pay tribute to all who served in the war.

“He would lie there in respect of all the soldiers from WWII, and as he would point out, ‘The cause is always greater than I.’ It’s so much more than about Woody Williams. It’s more to signify the debt of gratitude as a country we owe to that generation,” said Casey.

Details are still being worked out, but Casey believes Williams will lie in honor sometime late next week. There will be a procession to the US Capitol and later, to the burial site, which has yet to be determined.