Wendall Warren “Woody” Woodall

1925 - 2015

Air Force

Their Story

            Wendall Warren “Woody” Woodall was born on March 17, 1925, to Harold Isaac and Evadna Zulema (Cummins) Woodall in Webster City, Iowa. The family moved to Minnesota to work on Evadna’s family farm during Woodall’s youth, but returned to Webster City by the time he attended high school.

Woodall was a fierce athletic competitor for the Webster City High School basketball team, helping them achieve second place in the state tournament, and earning 10 letters in athletics.[1] As a result, he was invited to play for the Des Moines Register’s “All-State First Team”.[2] After high school, he played  baseball, pitching for the St. Louis Cardinals’ farm team.[3] His professional baseball career was cut short by his decision to serve his country and enlist in the United States Army on November 23, 1943.[4]

Woodall served with the 314th Bomber Wing of the U.S. Army Air Corps in the Pacific Theatre during World War II.[5] Woodall served as a gunner on a B-29 bomber. Together with his wing they conducted daring missions to bomb Japanese military targets throughout the Pacific. On one nearly deadly mission, Woodall and his crew flew 750 miles (approximately 2 hours and 14 minutes) back from Japan to Iwo Jima in their battle-damaged plane.

The plane was so badly damaged that they ‘limped back’ as far as Iwo Jima, which had not yet been secured by the U.S. invasion forces. On only two of their four engines, and with several tires shot up, they safely landed on a shell-damaged runway. This effort earned the entire crew the ‘Distinguished Flying Cross.’[6]

Throughout the course of the war, the 314th would drop a record total of 60 million pounds of bombs on 96 targets over 61 flight missions against the Japanese forces.[7] Their contribution to the War aided the United States and its Allies in the effort to push the Japanese out of their imperial holdings in the Pacific. In addition to his Distinguished Flying Cross, Woodall earned the Air Medal as a recognition of his service. He was honorably discharged on January 15, 1946, four months after the Japanese surrender and the end of World War II.[8]

            Woodall then returned home to Iowa. He attended Drake University and the Iowa State Teachers College (now the University of Northern Iowa), earning a bachelor’s degree in education. He married his high school sweetheart, Dorothy Lois Parker, on May 30, 1948, and the two raised a family in Monmouth, Iowa.

He was a teacher and administrator in Iowa schools until his retirement in 1984. He was deeply involved with the athletics programs at his schools throughout his career, both as a coach and as a referee. Woodall had a reputation for interacting with every student that walked through the halls of his schools, and cherished hearing success stories from his former students.

He was proud of his military service and was an active member of Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 2301, and American Legion Post 136. Wendall Warren Woodall passed away on May 24, 2015, at the Monmouth Nursing Home.[9] He leaves behind a legacy of resilience in the face of danger, as well as the fostering nature of a teacher and coach for his community.

Wendall Warren “Woody” Woodall (1925-2015) – Find a Grave Memorial

[1] Jack North, “2 Coaches’ Sons Play In State Cage Meet,” Des Moines Tribune, March 23, 1944, p. 23.

[2]Wendall Warren ‘Woody’ Woodall,” Legacy.com, May 27, 2015.

[3] Jack North, “Ray Mueller Nears Reds’ Catcher Mark,” Des Moines Tribune, September 14, 1943, p. 14.

[4]Wendall Warren ‘Woody’ Woodall,” Legacy.com, May 27, 2015.

[5]10 Iowa Air Force Members Promoted,” Des Moines Tribune, July 5, 1945, p. 4.

[6]Wendall Warren ‘Woody’ Woodall,” Legacy.com, May 27, 2015.

[7]Honor Iowans For Jap Raids,” Des Moines Register, September 30, 1945, p. 22.

[8]Wendall Warren ‘Woody’ Woodall,” Legacy.com, May 27, 2015.

[9]Wendall Warren ‘Woody’ Woodall,” Legacy.com, May 27, 2015,



10 Iowa Air Force Members Promoted.” Des Moines Tribune, July 5, 1945.

Honor Iowans For Jap Raids.” Des Moines Register, September 30, 1945.

North, Jack. “2 Coaches’ Sons Play In State Cage Meet.” Des Moines Tribune, March 23, 1944.

North, Jack. “Ray Mueller Nears Reds’ Catcher Mark.” Des Moines Tribune, September 14, 1943.

Wendall Warren ‘Woody’ Woodall.” Legacy.com, May 27, 2015.