Congressional Medal of Honor Society

Stories of Sacrifice

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World War II - U.S. Army

Elden Harvey Johnson

  • Rank: Private
  • Conflict/Era: World War II
  • Unit/Command:
    Company H, 15th Infantry,
    3d Infantry Division
  • Military Service Branch: U.S. Army
  • Medal of Honor Action Date: June 3, 1944
  • Medal of Honor Action Place: near Valmontone, Italy

For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of life above and beyond the call of duty. Pvt. Johnson elected to sacrifice his life in order that his comrades might extricate themselves from an ambush. Braving the massed fire of about 60 riflemen, three machine guns, and three tanks from positions only 25 yards distant, he stood erect and signaled his patrol leader to withdraw. The whole area was brightly illuminated by enemy flares. Then, despite 20-mm machine-gun, machine-pistol, and rifle fire directed at him, Pvt. Johnson advanced beyond the enemy in a slow deliberate walk. Firing his automatic rifle from the hip, he succeeded in distracting the enemy and enabled his 12 comrades to escape. Advancing to within five yards of a machine gun, emptying his weapon, Pvt. Johnson killed its crew. Standing in full view of the enemy, he reloaded and turned on the riflemen to the left, firing directly into their positions. He either killed or wounded four of them. A burst of machine-gun fire tore into Pfc. Johnson and he dropped to his knees. Fighting to the very last, he steadied himself on his knees and sent a final burst of fire crashing into another German. With that he slumped forward dead. Pvt. Johnson had willingly given his life in order that his comrades might live. These acts on the part of Pvt. Johnson were an inspiration to the entire command and are in keeping with the highest traditions of the Armed Forces.

Medal of Honor Recipient Elden H. Johnson
Medal of Honor Recipient Elden H. Johnson
Additional Details
  • Accredited to: East Weymouth, Norfolk County, Massachusetts
  • Awarded Posthumously: Yes
  • Presentation Date & Details: May 30, 1945

    Boston Commons, Boston, Massachusetts, presented by Gen. Sherman Miles to his Mother

  • Born: February 13, 1921, Bivalve, Cumberland County, NJ, United States
  • Died: June 3, 1944, Italy
  • Buried: Union Cemetery (MH), Scituate, MA, United States

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