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A Black medic wounded on D-Day will be honored for treating dozens of troops under enemy fire
Family and supporters of an African American combat medic who tended to dozens of troops under harrowing conditions on D-Day are gathering in Arlington National Cemetery to posthumously honor him
WASHINGTON (AP) — An African American combat medic who was wounded while landing on Omaha Beach during the D-Day invasion but went on to tend to dozens of troops will be posthumously honored Wednesday in a ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery. His family and supporters continue to push for an even higher recognition they believe his heroism is owed.
Cpl. Waverly B. Woodson Jr. was a 21-year-old Army medic assigned to the only African American combat unit to land in Normandy on June 6, 1944. His landing craft took heavy fire and he was wounded before even getting to the beach, but for the next 30 hours he treated 200 wounded men while under intense small arms and artillery fire before collapsing from his injuries and blood loss, according to accounts of his service.
Woodson, who was born in Philadelphia and lived in Maryland with his wife, died in 2005. He spoke to The Associated Press in 1994 about his harrowing journey.
“The tide brought us in, and that’s when the 88s hit us,” he said of the German 88mm guns. “They were murder. Of our 26 Navy personnel there was only one left. They raked the whole top of the ship and killed all the crew. Then they started with the mortar shells.”