HERSHEL WOODY WILLIAMS T-ESB 4
Ship Name and Designation History
This section lists the names and designations that the ship had during its lifetime. The list is in chronological order.
Naming Ceremony 14 January 2016
Keel Laid 2 August 2016 - Launched 19 August 2017
Christened 21 October 2017
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USPS Type 12
Naming Ceremony, cachet by Richard Hoffner
NAMESAKE - CWO-4 Hershel Woodrow "Woody" Williams, USMC (born October 2, 1923)
Herschel joined the US Marine Corps Reserves on 26 May 1943 and reported to MCRD San Diego CA for recruit training. Following recruit training, he was sent to Camp Elliott training center in San Diego, where he joined the tank training battalion on 21 August 1943. The following month he was transferred to the training center's infantry battalion for instruction as a demolition man and in the use of flamethrowers. Williams joined the 32nd Replacement Battalion on 30 October 1943, and left for New Caledonia in the southwest Pacific on 3 December 1943. In January 1944, he joined the 3rd Marine Division at Guadalcanal, attached to the 1st Battalion, 21st Marines, first to Company C and then to Headquarters Company.
During July and August 1944, he participated in action against the Japanese at Guam, and in October he rejoined Company C. His next campaign was at Iwo Jima where he distinguished himself with actions "above and beyond the call of duty" — for which he would be awarded the Medal of Honor. Landing on 21 February 1945, Williams, by then a corporal, distinguished himself two days later when American tanks, trying to open a lane for infantry, encountered a network of reinforced concrete pillboxes, buried mines, and black volcanic sands. Williams went forward alone with his 70-pound (32 kg) flamethrower to attempt the reduction of devastating machine gun fire from the unyielding positions. Covered by only four riflemen, he fought for four hours under terrific enemy small-arms fire and repeatedly returned to his own lines to prepare demolition charges and obtain serviced flame throwers. He returned to the front, frequently to the rear of hostile emplacements, to wipe out one position after another. At one point, a wisp of smoke alerted him to the air vent of a Japanese bunker, and he approached close enough to put the nozzle of his flamethrower through the hole, killing the occupants. On another occasion, he was charged by enemy riflemen who attempted to stop him with bayonets and he killed them with a burst of flame from his weapon. These actions occurred on the same day as the raising of the U.S. flag on the island's Mount Suribachi, although Williams was not able to witness the event. He fought through the remainder of the five-week-long battle and was wounded on 6 March for which he was awarded the Purple Heart.
In September 1945, he returned to the United States, and on October 1 he joined Marine Corps Headquarters in Washington, D.C. He was presented the Medal of Honor by President Harry S. Truman on 5 October 1945, at the White House. Williams was discharged from the Marine Corps Reserve on November 6, 1945
In March 1948, he reenlisted in the inactive Marine Corps Reserve, but was again discharged on 4 August 1949.
On October 20, 1954, he joined the Organized Marine Reserve. He was advanced through the warrant officer ranks during his time in the Marine Corps Reserve until reaching his final rank of Chief Warrant Officer 4 (CWO4). Although CWO4 Williams technically did not meet retirement requirements, he was honorary retired from the Marine Corps Reserve in 1969 after approximately 17 years of service.
The ships sponsors are Tracie Jean Ross and Travie Jane Ross, CWO-4 Hershel Williams' daughters.
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