Congress honors WWII hero of Iwo Jima

WASHINGTON (AP) — Congress gave its ultimate final salute Thursday to Hershel W. “Woody” Williams, a 5-foot-6 “force of nature’” in the battle of Iwo Jima and the last remaining Medal of Honor recipient from World War II.

Seventy-seven years after his wartime heroism, Williams, who died last month at 98, lay in honor in the U.S. Capitol Rotunda, a tribute reserved for the nation’s most distinguished private citizens.

Only six others have received the honor: civil rights icon Rosa Parks, the Rev. Billy Graham and four Capitol police officers.

Just 21, Williams was a Marine corporal when U.S. forces came ashore on the strategic Japanese island in early 1945.

Williams moved ahead of his unit and eliminated a series of Japanese machine gun positions.

Facing small-arms fire, he fought for four hours, repeatedly returning to prepare demolition charges and obtain flamethrowers.

President Harry Truman awarded him the Medal of Honor, the military’s highest decoration, later that year.…