As a cold, blustery wind blew across the Elizabeth River and through the open-sided operations deck of the ship named in his honor, Hershel 'Woody' Williams reflected on the miracles he has experienced in his 96 years of living.
'Many of the miracles in my life have occurred because of the actions of others,' Williams told a crowd of about 1,000 who took part in the commissioning ceremony for the USS Hershel 'Woody' Williams (ESB-4).
Once such miracle took place 75 years ago on the Japanese-held island of Iwo Jima, when Williams, under heavy enemy fire, lugged explosive charges and wielded a flame thrower to destroy seven fortified machine gun emplacements in a frenzied four-hour period, clearing a path allowing his pinned-down company to advance.
A measured quantity of explosive material.
A mechanical incendiary device designed to project a long, controllable stream of fire.
The flamethrower was first used by the German army.