THE RARE BREED
Recognizing Area Veterans Of World War II
Woodie Wilson with the Navy at
the Battle for Okinawa
Woodie Wilson in uniform, 1943
Twenty-three year-old S. Woodrow "Woodie" Wilson was working for Todd Shipyards in Houston on that fateful Dec. 7, 1941 date. He had married his college sweetheart the previous December, then had dropped out of college after three years of studying pharmacy.
"After getting married, it was time to go to work and earn a living," he says.
Woodie was born at San Saba, Texas on Jan. 16, 1918 to Mr. and Mrs. A. B. Wilson. After graduating from high school, he enrolled at the University of Texas in 1935. In 1938, he met his future bride, Alice L. Murphy of Houston, when she entered UT as a freshman. They were married in 1940, then came the job at Todd Shipyards and Pearl Harbor.
Woodie enlisted in the Navy as an Apprentice Seaman on June 13, 1943.
His World War II service career took him to Corpus Christi; Norman, Okla.; then to the Pacific Theater and the battle of Okinawa. During the Okinawa battle, which began with D-Day on April Fool's Day, 1945 and became one of the bloodiest (and last) battles of the Pacific war. Woodie was a Pharmacist's Mate aboard an offshore ship.
While the Marines and Army had extremely rough going ashore (over 7,800 dead and 31,700 wounded), Navy vessels were no safe haven at Okinawa. The Navy took a terrible beating from the desperate Japanese and their kamikaze pilots. Historian John F. Wukovits wrote in World War II magazine that the Navy "lost almost 5,000 dead and 4,900 wounded to kamikaze attacks."
After the hard-earned Okinawa victory and the soon-to-come end of the war, Woodie returned to the States. With about 2 1/2 years of service, he received his discharge, with the rank of Pharmacist Mate First Class, on Dec. 5, 1945 at the Hitchcock Naval Base in Galveston County.
He later returned to college and completed his fourth year. The Wilsons became residents of Palacios when, on March 15, 1951, Woodie purchase half-interest in the Palacios Pharmacy.
Woodie and Alice became the parents of two children, daughter Marion Wilson Holcomb, a Registered Nurse and housewife, who lives in Wenatchee, Washington; and son, Roger D. Wilson, deceased. There are seven grandchildren and 13 great-grandchildren.
Woodrow 'Woodie' Wilson
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