With the 3rd Battalion, 28th Marine Regiment, 5th Marine Division, he participated in the Battle of Iwo Jima. On March 3, 1945, when a Marine was wounded forward of the front lines, Williams went to assist him and was hit by enemy fire. Williams completed his mission of mercy, dressed his own wounds, and rendered aid to another fallen Marine. On his way back to the rear, Williams was hit by an enemy sniper and died later that day. For his actions on that day, he was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor.
For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while serving with the 3d Battalion, 28th Marines, 5th Marine Division during the occupation of Iwo Jima, Volcano Islands on 3 March 1945. Gallantly going forward on the frontlines under intense enemy small-arms fire to assist a Marine wounded in a fierce grenade battle, Petty Officer Williams dragged the man to a shallow depression and was kneeling, using his own body as a screen from the sustained f ire as he administered first aid, when struck in the abdomen and groin three times by hostile rifle f ire. Momentarily stunned, he quickly recovered and completed his ministrations before applying battle dressings to his own multiple wounds. Unmindful of his own urgent need for medical attention, Petty Officer Williams remained in the perilous fire-swept area to care for another Marine casualty. Heroically completing his task despite pain and profuse bleeding, he then endeavored to make his way to the rear in search of adequate aid f or himself when struck down by a Japanese sniper bullet which caused his collapse, succumbing later as a result of his self-sacrificing service to others. By his courageous determination, unwavering fortitude, and valiant devotion to duty, Petty Officer Williams served as an aspiring example of heroism; thereby reflecting great credit upon himself and upholding the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service. He gallantly gave his life for his country.