(Minneapolis) — World War II hero Hershel Woodrow “Woody” Williams was Super Bowl LII’s “Honorary Captain.”
The decorated Marine, a winner of the Medal of Honor, stood at the 50-yard line between a handful of the New England Patriots and the Philadelphia Eagles players on Super Bowl Sunday inside U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis.
When his name was announced by the referee, a roaring applause from the Eagles-dominated contingent followed.
Williams was tasked with flipping the coin — the heads side included the Lombardi Trophy and the tails featured both NFL teams’ logos.
“The honor is yours,” said referee Gene Steratore.
Philadelphia called tails. It landed on heads.
Williams, a West Virginia farmer turned war hero, is the last living soldier to receive the nation’s highest award for valor from serving in the Pacific Theater during World War II.
He went beyond the call of duty during the Battle of Iwo Jima, where as part of the 3rd Marine Division he used a flamethrower to destroy pillboxes, or dug-in guard posts, made of concrete.
The brave Marine faced enemy fire during the campaign and came close death when he was hit with a piece of shrapnel.
“The corpsman came. He took his forceps and pulled it out and said, ‘Do you want this?’” Williams remembered, according to the Marine Corps website. “I said, ‘I sure do!’ It was still hot. I still have it.”
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