|MOH at Kentucky Derby 2011|
Medal of Honor recipients Hershel “Woody” Williams and Don Jenkins will serve as the official “Thundernators” for the Thunder Over Louisville show, the Kentucky Derby Festival’s Opening Ceremonies 2011. Williams is a World War II MOH now living in West Virginia; Jenkins is a Vietnam War MOH residing in Quality, Ky. At approximately 9:29 p.m. on Saturday, April 16, Williams and Jenkins will provide the Thunder countdown and “zero” ignition to activate the Thunder launch system sequence in the Command Center at the Galt House Hotel.
The men’s appearance at Thunder is a prequel to the annual 2011 Congressional Medal of Honor Society Convention that will take place in Louisville Sept. 28 to Oct. 2. During that time, Louisville will welcome all 85 living Medal of Honor Recipients. The event marks the 150th anniversary of the creation of the Medal of Honor in 1861 by President Abraham Lincoln.
Jenkins joined the Army from Nashville, Tennessee, and by January 6, 1969 was serving as a private first class in Company A, 2d Battalion, 39th Infantry Regiment, 9th Infantry Division.
During a firefight on that day, in Kien Phong Province, Republic of Vietnam, Jenkins repeatedly exposed himself to hostile fire to engage the enemy, resupply his ammunition, and obtain new weapons. Despite being wounded himself, he made several trips through intense fire to rescue other wounded soldiers. For his actions during the battle Jenkins was promoted to Staff Sergeant and awarded the Medal of Honor.
|Hershel “Woody” Williams|
Williams was only 17 when he joined the Marines. His accomplishments on Iwo Jima are legendary.
He landed on Iwo Jima on February 21, 1945, then a corporal and distinguished himself two days later when American tanks, trying to open a lane for infantry, encountered a network of reinforced concrete pillboxes, buried mines, and black volcanic sands.
He was presented the Medal of Honor by President Harry S. Truman on October 5, 1945, at the White House.