“Woody” Williams salutes “guardian angel” Charles G. Fischer

| March 19, 2018 | 28 Comments

We’ve talked a few times about 94-year-old Herschel “Woody” Williams, the last surviving Iwo Jima Medal of Honor recipient – the last of twenty-seven men who were awarded that medal for that battle. Williams has never taken full credit for his actions on February 23, 1945, instead he credits the marksman he calls his “guardian angels”, who provided cover for him while he charged across an airstrip with a flame thrower, eliminating the threats to his fellow Marines from Japanese pillboxes.

Stars & Stripes reports that he stopped by the grave of one of his “guardian angels”, Charles G. Fischer when he was in Hawaii last week;

On Saturday, Williams, with the Medal of Honor hanging around his neck, stood over the Hawaii grave of Charles Fischer, one of those “guardian angels” who helped him survive that day and is buried in the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific, nicknamed the Punchbowl.

He saluted the Marine, who died a private first class that day, and then slowly bent down and placed a purple lei upon his headstone.

“I have always said I’m just the caretaker of it,” Williams said later of the Medal of Honor. “It belongs to them. They sacrificed for it. I didn’t.”

Williams is also the last surviving Medal of Honor recipient in West Virginia.

Category: We Remember

Comments (28)

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  1. AW1Ed says:

    “I have always said I’m just the caretaker of it,” Williams said later of the Medal of Honor. “It belongs to them. They sacrificed for it. I didn’t.”

    A common theme among extremely uncommon heroes.

  2. Former 13D says:

    God bless these men…

  3. Wilted Willy says:

    May God Bless you good Sir! You are truly a hero in my book! I hope you enjoy many more years of good health! I wish there was another way that I could give you the honor you really deserve! You surely saved many lives that day with your heroics, even though you don’t claim any for yourself. You are certainly a hero in my book!

    • UpNorth says:

      I tried, but I can’t come up with anything to say that is as good as what you posted, Willy. Well done.
      Salute, Woody. I stand in awe of men like you. And the others who stood shoulder to shoulder with you.

  4. Ex-PH2 says:

    Too few of them left now….

    • Marine 0331 says:

      I’d love to meet one of these guys and just shake their hand. I would feel so honored. People pay so much money for the autograph of some turd who plays football, but these brass-balled guys are the real heros.

  5. Dinotanker says:

    This puts a lump in my throat and tears in my eyes. Especially after reading about that utter claptrap going on in NJ with the high school kids.

    What an incredible group of men. I cannot begin to imagine the sheer guts it took to get up, with a FREAKING FLAMETHROWER strapped to your back and take it to the enemy. Truly awe inspiring.

    Thank God that the United States has people like Mr. Williams and those serving today.

  6. Atkron says:

    The biggest difference between actual heroes, and these bragging fakes is the humility shown by the real deal.

    They saw their fellow warriors committing acts of bravery every single day, and all of them saw it as just doing their job; or keeping their buddy’s safe. They weren’t looking for a medal, especially if some of their friends were killed in the process.

    I find their humble demeanor refreshing, and makes me want to earn the chance at a good life that they and their friends sacrificed so much for.

  7. FuzeVT says:

    Concur with everything above considering Mr. Williams character. That’s something amazing.

    I visited the Punchbowl cemetery in April of 2016. It’s an awesome place. Here are my pictures:

  8. Sparks says:

    Where did we get such men.

    • SFC D says:

      Such men were raised by good parents. Such men were good parents. It’s past time that we raise a new generation of such men.

      Mr. Williams, you and men like you are the truest examples of “The Greatest Generation”. We all stand in your shadow.

      • David says:

        It always struck me as ironic that the ‘Greatest Generation’ parented the Boomers, arguably one of the worst generations and at base the root cause of much of what is wrong with youth today. There were great parents among them, just as there are in any generation – but they sure raised some fucked up kids.

        • 11B-Mailclerk says:

          Hard times create hard men.

          Hard men make soft times.

          Soft times create soft men.

          Soft men make hard times.


        • SFC D says:

          I’ve wondered about that too, David. My folks were from the greatest generation, my sisters and I were baby boomers, somehow we managed to raise some really good kids. Yes there were times that we wanted to throttle the little shits, but nobody ever said parenting was easy. Nobody “parents” anymore. They expect the school to be mommy and daddy. And how’s that working out?

  9. Graybeard says:

    Thank you for setting a good example, Mr. Williams.

  10. Denise Williams says:

    I’ve had the privilege of meeting Woody several times through the Hershel Woody Williams Foundation. I can’t describe the humility and kindness that emanates from this unassuming man. It’s like he is in perpetual, humble awe of his own life.

    If you haven’t, I highly recommend reading about him.He is nearly constantly traveling around the country, raising funds to install monuments to Gold Star Families.

    Why? Because before he was a Marine, an MOH recipient, a 20-year Marine and Reservist, a 33-year VA rep, he delivered the “Regret to inform you…” telegrams to families in his community in West Virginia. He occasionally talks about being on the battlefield and being aware of what was going to happen to the families of his fallen brothers. He didn’t just save all those on Iwo Jima, he wasn’t really seeking justice or vengeance, he was trying to do his part to end the enemy that caused the pain those telegrams contained.

    Read more here-

  11. HMC Ret says:

    I struggle knowing what words to use to adequately express my love and admiration for such men. A common thread among them is deference to those who served with them, many of whom gave their all.

    And, this is one of the reasons I hold in contempt those who claim the heroism as their own. I don’t care if they claim a NDSM, Good Conduct or Navy Cross.

  12. Bill M says:

    Better men than I.

  13. mr. sharkman says:

    You know…you look at the write-ups for you BS+V, Silver Star, etc. awarded for actions in the GWOT.

    And then you look at the write-ups for what a lot of these guys did to earn a BS+V back then…actions that today would nearly earn them a DSC, and you’re reminded that humility is a trait to never be discarded.

  14. A Proud Infidel®™ says:

    I grew up in the seventies and eighties knowing and being mentored by WWI, WWII, Korea and Vietnam Vets, the ones who did the most talked and bragged the least.

  15. Patrick408 says:

    This article just reminded me of this podcast i just listened to last week. FYI, its 3 hrs long but well worth it if you have the time. Jocko is a former team guy and his interview of Dakota Meyer regarding his MOH. I was honored to meet Joe Foss 15 years ago, humility runs deep with these guys.
    Semper Fi!

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