Congressional Medal of Honor Society

Stories of Sacrifice

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Vietnam War - U.S. Army

Donald Ray Johnston

  • Rank: Specialist Fourth Class
  • Conflict/Era: Vietnam War
  • Unit/Command:
    Company D, 1st Battalion, 8th Cavalry,
    1st Cavalry Division
  • Military Service Branch: U.S. Army
  • Medal of Honor Action Date: March 21, 1969
  • Medal of Honor Action Place: Tay Ninh Province, Republic of Vietnam
For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty. Sp4c. Johnston distinguished himself while serving as a mortarman with Company D, at a fire support base in Tay Ninh Province. Sp4c. Johnston's company was in defense positions when it came under a devastating rocket and mortar attack. Under cover of the bombardment, enemy sappers broke through the defensive perimeter and began hurling explosive charges into the main defensive bunkers. Sp4c. Johnston and six of his comrades had moved from their exposed position to one of the bunkers to continue their fight against the enemy attackers. As they were firing from the bunker, an enemy soldier threw three explosive charges into their position. Sensing the danger to his comrades, Sp4c. Johnston, with complete disregard for his safety, hurled himself onto the explosive charges, smothering the detonations with his body and shielding his fellow soldiers from the blast. His heroic action saved the lives of six of his comrades. Sp4c. Johnston's concern for his fellow men at the cost of his life were in the highest traditions of the military service and reflect great credit upon himself, his unit, and the U.S. Army.
Medal of Honor Recipient Donald R. Johnston
Medal of Honor Recipient Donald R. Johnston
Additional Details
  • Accredited to: Columbus, Muscogee County, Georgia
  • Awarded Posthumously: Yes
  • Presentation Date & Details: February 16, 1971
    The White House (East Ballroom), presented by Pres. Richard M. Nixon to his family
  • Born: November 19, 1947, Columbus, Muscogee County, GA, United States
  • Died: March 21, 1969, Republic of Vietnam
  • Buried: Fort Benning Post Cemetery (MH) (F-43-A), Fort Benning, GA, United States

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