U.S. Army officials will officially open the U.S. Army Health Clinic at Rock Island Arsenal, Illinois at 10 a.m. Thursday, April 14. The clinic will be known as the Woodson Health Clinic, in honor of a World War II medic who served with the First Army and saved countless lives during the Allied invasion of Normandy.
Staff Sgt. Medal of Honor nominee Waverly B. Woodson was assigned to the 320th Barrage Balloon Battalion, the Army’s only African-American unit to storm the beach on D-Day, according to a news release. .
According to Congressional records, at around 9:30 a.m. on June 6, 1944, Woodson was heading for land aboard a tank landing ship when it was damaged by a floating mine. The ship lost power and faced a barrage of enemy mortar and machine gun fire as it drifted ashore. He suffered a number of shrapnel wounds in the attack before making it to the safety of an embankment on the beach.
After a quick dressing of his wounds by another soldier, Woodson established a first aid station and began treating other wounded soldiers. As the battle raged he worked for 30 hours straight, treating gunshot abrasions, intestinal wounds, repairing limbs and other aids for his fellow soldiers and saved around 200 lives before being relieved. to rest, according to the records.
While heading to the beach to pick up some bedding, Woodson was flagged down and asked to help three soldiers pulled from a sunken tank landing ship. Woodson provided artificial respiration until the soldiers could breathe on their own. Later, he and other wounded, sick, and injured soldiers were evacuated to a hospital ship for further medical treatment. After three days, Woodson asked to return to the front.
For his heroic actions, Woodson was nominated for an appropriate award. At the time, he was awarded the Bronze Star, but since then bipartisan Congressional Bills HR 8194 and S. 4535 have been introduced to posthumously award Woodson the Medal of Honor. Army officials chose to name the Rock Island Health Clinic, home to the First Army, after the combat medic.
Located in Building 110 on the Arsenal, the clinic provides primary care services to more than 1,940 beneficiaries of the military healthcare system, including active duty soldiers, retirees and family members. It supports multiple RIA commands including First Army, U.S. Army Support Command, Army Contracts Command – Rock Island, Joint Munitions Command, Joint Manufacturing and Technology Center of Rock Island Arsenal, US Army Garrison Rock Island Arsenal, US Army Corps of Engineers Rock Island District, and other units. The team operates an occupational health clinic for civilian employees in addition to an industrial hygiene cell, supporting approximately 8,100 civilian employees, as well as military workers.
A live stream of the ceremony will be broadcast on YouTube at www.https://youtube.com/c/BACHPAO.