AMERICAN HERO ON NORMANDY BEACH
American Hero of Normandy Beach
One of the American Heroes of Normandy Beach--a young medic who ignored his own wounds for five days and five nights after D-Day to help his unit take care of 350 casualties they treated until D-Day plus 5--is in Camp Stewart awaiting his next assignment.
He is Sgt. Waverly B. Woodson, Jr., of Philadelphia, Pa., supply sergeant and pharmacist of the 320th AA Balloon Battalion, VLA (Very Low Altitude), Medical Detachment. He is scheduled to broadcast his experiences over a coast-to coast hookup.
Sgt. Woodson, awarded the Bronze Star Citation for meritorious achievement in the face of enemy fire, finally underwent a three-hour operation on D-Day plus 6 for the removal of the mortar fragment that had torn through his leg and imbedded itself in his groin on the morning of D-Day while his ship was approaching the beach.
The LCT (Landing Craft Tank) which carried Woodson and his unit was a target for heavy enemy fire as it approached the beach. Twenty-six of the 27 Navy personnel and many of the Army personnel were killed or injured. At the height of enemy fire the craft struck a submerged mine, crippling the boat. Unable to move under its own power, the boat drifted into shore with the tide. The men went over the side and waded ashore amid heavy fire.
During those five days and nights when the Americans were fighting furiously to establish their beachhead, Woodson performed another act of mercy beyond call of duty that saved the lives of many men who otherwise might have died.
On D-Day plus 1, a heavy surf shredded a shore rope. Fully equipped infantrymen tossed helplessly, fought valiantly to reach the beach, without the hemp guide.
The only medic on the beach, the dead-tired Woodson revived the near-drowned men, shouted first aid instructions to other infantrymen. When aid arrived, virtually all the men had recovered.