The health clinic at the Rock Island Arsenal has been named in honor of a black medic who’s credited with saving dozens of soldiers on D-Day.

Army Staff Sergeant Waverly Woodson, Jr., was a member of the only African American unit to storm Omaha Beach on June 6, 1944. Woodson was seriously wounded, but the recently retired commander of the Rock Island Arsenal said what Woodson did next was heroic.

“For over 30 hours, over 200 soldiers that were wounded were treated, many lives saved and then stabilized off to the next echelon of care,” he said.

Woodson is also credited with saving four soldiers who were drowning, pulling them to shore and administering CPR.

“Where do people like this come from?…I am honored to have been in the same Army as Waverly ‘Woody’ Woodson,” said Lieutenant Colonel Thomas James, Jr., the former commander of the Rock Island Arsenal who spoke at a dedication ceremony yesterday.

James said Woodson had a long career in health care and retired in 1980 after working at the National Institutes of Health for 38 years.
The Health Clinic in the Quad Cities that now bears Waverly Woodson’s name serves hundreds of active duty soldiers and their families in the region, as well as the hundreds of civilians who work at the Arsenal.

The author of a recently-published book about Woodson’s World War II unit found a note from a general saying Woodson had earned the Medal of Honor. Woodson died in 2005. His family has asked the Army to name Woodson the recipient of the Medal of Honor posthumously.

(By Herb Trix, WVIK, Quad Cities)