Last Surviving WWII Medal of Honor Recipient Welcomes Great-Grandson into the Marines

·1 min read
Marine Hershel “Woody” Williams
Marine Hershel “Woody” Williams

Andrew Burton/Getty Images

On Friday, more than 75 years after he was awarded the Medal of Honor from President Truman, legendary Marine Hershel "Woody" Williams watched his great-grandson graduate from Marine Corps Boot Camp at Parris Island, South Carolina.

Williams, 97, is the last surviving Medal of Honor recipient from World War II. The retired Marine Corps warrant officer received the military's highest decoration for "heroism above and beyond the call of duty" during the Battle of Iwo Jima.

Williams has a Navy ship and a Veterans Affairs center named after him as well as a non-profit foundation dedicated to honoring Gold Star Families with memorial monuments.

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Now, his great-grandson Cedar Ross is following in his considerable footsteps.

"The only advice I think I gave him was to do the very best that he could and then to do a little more," Williams told CBS News.

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Ross told the outlet that he was about halfway through boot camp when his drill instructor learned that he was the direct descendant of Williams.

"The chief drill instructor told me, 'Ross, you're going to have big shoes to fill,'" he told CBS News. "I said, 'Yes, sir. Thankfully, I wear size 15.'"