Last living WWII Medal of Honor recipient helps demonstrate flamethrower at veterans picnic


HUNTINGTON, WV (WOWK) – A huge crowd at Harris Riverfront Park in Huntington, West Virginia honored area veterans and got to watch some exciting military weapon demonstrations on Saturday.

World War II Marine Corps veteran and Medal of Honor recipient, Hershel “Woody” Williams showed a few old-style weapons at the Military and Veterans Appreciation Picnic, firing off a few fully automatic and single shot rounds over the Ohio River.

At age 97, Williams is the last living WWII Medal of Honor recipient.

He also helped demonstrate a weapon that was a bit more personal to him, a flamethrower similar to the one he used during the Battle of Iwo Jima in 1945.

Williams said the demonstration flame thrower was just like the one he used, “only it doesn’t have all the gauges on it.”

Flamethrower expert Charles Hobson strapped on the flamethrower and with some help from Williams, the flames rose over the Ohio River.

After the demonstration on the riverfront, Williams spoke to the only Sea Cadets unit in the state of West Virginia. Seaman Kinsley Ellison said meeting Williams was “historical, it meant a lot.”

The event also featured rides on a WWII landing craft, military ceremonies, live music, and free food. The main goal of the event was to honor those who came back home and those who paid the ultimate sacrifice.

Williams spoke briefly about his service time in WWII and explaining the differences in the flamethrowers below:

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