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Widow fights for husband's recognition as a D-Day hero

D-Day war hero goes unrecognized
Widow fights for husband's recognition as D-Day war hero 02:11

For years, a widow has been fighting for recognition of her late husband's heroism during D-Day. Waverly Woodson Jr. was one of an estimated one million African Americans who served in World War II, including 2,000 who were at Normandy. All served in segregated units and their contributions are often overlooked.

Joann Woodson, 90, wants everyone to know the sacrifice her husband made when he stormed Omaha Beach 75 years ago as a medic.

"He said that the men were just dropping, just dropping so fast. Some of them were so wounded, there was nothing that you could do but just give them a few little last rites," Woodson said.

Waverly Woodson, Jr. Joann Woodson

According to a History Channel report, 21-year-old Woodson spent 30 hours on the beach giving CPR, removing bullets and performing amputations. He reportedly treated at least 200 men before collapsing from his own injuries.

In 1993, an Army report concluded racial bias was a reason no African-American World War II service member received the Medal of Honor. After that, seven did and Woodson was considered.

"It's pretty clear that had he been a white soldier, he would've received the Medal of Honor and the only thing that has stood in the way is the color of his skin," said Maryland Sen. Chris Van Hollen.

He said a fire in 1973 destroyed nearly all of Woodsons military records. Without those documents, the Army said it can't reconsider him for the honor.

Waverly Woodson died in 2005. He did receive the Bronze Star, the fourth highest combat decoration for his actions. But Joann Woodson said she won't stop fighting until he receives the Medal of Honor.

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