Marine veteran and Medal of Honor recipient Woody Williams appeared in millions of Americans’ homes on Sunday after he tossed the coin at the Super Bowl — and his story is absolutely amazing.
Fighting against Japanese forces in World War II at the Battle of Iwo Jima, Williams displayed heroic behavior.
“Covered only by 4 riflemen, he fought desperately for 4 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 1 position after another. On 1 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 citation reads in part.
“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 vitally in enabling his company to reach its objective.”
This occurred on the same day that American forces raised the American flag at Iwo Jima.
“I was about 1,000 yards or so from Mount Suribachi, and the first thing I noticed was some of the Marines around me were jumping up and down and yelling and saying something about a flag and firing the weapons into the air.”
“I had no idea what was going on until I saw the flag. And of course I begun doing the same thing they were doing and we were celebrating,” Williams told VAntage Point, a Department of Veterans Affairs blog.