The U.S. Army Health Clinic at Rock Island Arsenal will be dedicated in honor of a World War II medic who served with First Army and saved countless lives during the Allied Invasion of Normandy.

Staff Sgt. Waverly B. Woodson, a Medal of Honor nominee, was assigned to the 320th Barrage Balloon Battalion, the Army’s only African American unit to storm the beach on D-Day. According to congressional records, on June 6, 1944 at about 9:30 a.m., Woodson was headed ashore aboard a tank landing ship when it was damaged by a floating mine. The vessel lost power and faced a barrage of enemy mortar and machine-gun fire as it drifted ashore. Woodson sustained a number of shrapnel wounds from the attack before making it to the shelter of an embankment up the beach.

Staff Sgt. Waverly B. Woodson (U.S. Army Garrison Rock Island Arsenal)

After another soldier dressed his wounds, Woodson established a first aid station and began treating the wounded. As the battle raged on, Woodson worked for 30 hours straight, treating bullet abrasions, intestinal wounds, setting limbs and other aid for his fellow soldiers. Records show Woodson saved an estimated 200 lives before he was relieved.

As Woodson headed down the beach to gather bedding, he was flagged down and requested to assist three soldiers pulled from a submerged tank landing ship. Woodson provided artificial respiration until the soldiers could breathe on their own. He and other wounded, ill and injured soldiers were evacuated to a hospital ship for further medical treatment. After three days, Woodson requested to return to the front lines.

For his heroic actions, Woodson was nominated for an appropriate award. At the time he received the Bronze Star, but since then, bipartisan congressional bills H.R. 8194 and S. 4535 were introduced to posthumously award Woodson the Medal of Honor. Army officials chose to name the health clinic on Rock Island, home to First Army, in honor of the combat medic. 

U.S. Army officials will formally dedicate the U.S. Army Health Clinic at Rock Island Arsenal on Thursday, April 14 at 10 a.m., and it will be known as the Woodson Health Clinic, in honor of Staff Sgt. Waverly B. Woodson. A livestream of the ceremony will be broadcast here.

According to a release, the clinic provides primary care services for more than 1,940 Military Health System beneficiaries, including active duty soldiers, retirees and family members, supporting multiple RIA commands to include First Army, U.S. Army Sustainment Command, Army Contracting Command – Rock Island, Joint Munitions Command, Rock Island Arsenal Joint Manufacturing and Technology Center, U.S. Army Garrison Rock Island Arsenal, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Rock Island District and other units. For more information, click here.