Press Release

Last Surviving Medal of Honor Recipient from the Battle of Iwo Jima Returns to Historic Pacific Sites

NEW ORLEANS (March 13, 2018)  – Hershel “Woody” Williams – WWII veteran and last surviving Medal of Honor recipient from the Battle of Iwo Jima – will return to the historic, Pacific battlefield sites to offer firsthand accounts of the devastating campaign that helped American forces achieve victory over Japan. Williams, along with featured guests and historians, will lead The National WWII Museum’s Victory in the Pacific Tour (March 16 – 26, 2018) as they retrace the grueling military trail through locations including Pearl Harbor, Iwo Jima and Tokyo Bay.

Assigned to the 21st Marines,  Marine Division, William’s first major combat was on Guam. Armed with an M1 Garand, he found himself defending the line against a Japanese banzai charge. It was his next combat at Iwo Jima, however, where he etched his place in history: On , 1945, under immense enemy fire, Williams performed heroic actions with a flamethrower against well-defended Japanese bunkers. For his actions that day, he was presented the Congressional Medal of Honor , 1945 from President Harry S. Truman and is now one of only four living WWII Medal of Honor recipients.

Since returning from battle, Williams has dedicated his life to honoring those who made the ultimate sacrifice on the battlefield through the Hershel “Woody” Williams Medal of Honor Foundation. In 2017, his foundation partnered with the Gary Sinise Foundation to gift The National WWII Museum with a Gold Star mural on the side of the institution’s Louisiana Memorial Pavilion. The 26x14-foot painting acts as a lasting tribute to families who have lost a loved one in the service of the nation’s military, while also preserving the memory of the fallen and standing as a stark reminder that freedom is not free. Most recently, Williams was honored to complete the coin toss at Super Bowl LII in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

The National WWII Museum’s Victory in the Pacific Tour, which is part of the institution’s Education Travel program, will focus on the story of the Americans who forged a road to Tokyo through courage, ingenuity and sacrifice. The group will hear stories of bravery from 12 WWII veterans on the tour who served in the Pacific. Additionally, guests who participate in the Museum’s optional post-tour extension to Tokyo and Hiroshima will hear from Ittsei Nakagawa, a  survivor of the atomic bomb on Hiroshima.

Authors and historians Jonathan Parshall and Richard Frank, along with Museum historians, will present a series of engaging lectures and tour with guests throughout the journey, examining the logistical challenges on Guam, Tinian, Saipan and Iwo Jima that confronted American military forces in the Pacific over 70 years ago.

The Museum’s next Victory in the Pacific Tour featuring the 74th Anniversary Commemoration on Iwo Jima is scheduled for March 15 – 25, 2019. For more information, call toll free at 877-813-3329 x257 or email to be among the first to receive the 2019 tour brochure.

The Hershel “Woody” Williams Medal of Honor Foundation was established in 2010 and is a charitable 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization that pursues specific endeavors and goals through the vision of Medal of Honor Recipient Hershel “Woody” Williams. The Foundation encourages, with the assistance of the American public and community leaders, establishing permanent Gold Star Families Memorial Monuments in communities throughout the country, providing Living Legacy Scholarships to Gold Star Children and sponsoring and hosting Gold Star Families outreach across the country. The organization’s mission is aimed at honoring, recognizing and serving Gold Star Families and their fallen Heroes.

The National WWII Museum tells the story of the American experience in the war that changed the world—why it was fought, how it was won, and what it means —so that future generations will know the price of freedom and be inspired by what they learn. Dedicated in 2000 as The National D-Day Museum and now designated by Congress as America’s National WWII Museum, it celebrates the American spirit, the teamwork, optimism, courage and sacrifices of the men and women who fought on the battlefront and served on the . The 2017 TripAdvisor Travelers’ Choice Awards ranks the Museum No. 2 in the world and No. 2 in the nation. For more information, call 877-813-3329 or 504-528-1944 or visit