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Congressional Medal of Honor Society

Stories of Sacrifice

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World War II - U.S. Army

John Carleton Sjogren

  • Rank: Staff Sergeant (Highest Rank: Major)
  • Conflict/Era: World War II
  • Unit/Command:
    Company I, 160th Infantry,
    40th Infantry Division
  • Military Service Branch: U.S. Army
  • Medal of Honor Action Date: May 23, 1945
  • Medal of Honor Action Place: near San Jose Hacienda, Negros, Philippine Islands
He led an attack against a high precipitous ridge defended by a company of enemy riflemen, who were entrenched in spider holes and supported by well-sealed pillboxes housing automatic weapons with interlocking bands of fire. The terrain was such that only one squad could advance at a time; and from a knoll atop a ridge a pillbox covered the only approach with automatic fire. Against this enemy stronghold, S/Sgt. Sjogren led the first squad to open the assault. Deploying his men, he moved forward and was hurling grenades when he saw that his next in command, at the opposite flank, was gravely wounded. Without hesitation he crossed 20 yards of exposed terrain in the face of enemy fire and exploding dynamite charges, moved the man to cover, and administered first aid. He then worked his way forward and, advancing directly into the enemy fire, killed eight Japanese in spider holes guarding the approach to the pillbox. Crawling to within a few feet of the pillbox while his men concentrated their bullets on the fire port, he began dropping grenades through the narrow firing slit. The enemy immediately threw two or three of these unexploded grenades out, and fragments from one wounded him in the hand and back. However, by hurling grenades through the embrasure faster than the enemy could return them, he succeeded in destroying the occupants. Despite his wounds, he directed his squad to follow him in a systematic attack on the remaining positions, which he eliminated in like manner, taking tremendous risks, overcoming bitter resistance, and never hesitating in his relentless advance. To silence one of the pillboxes, he wrenched a light machine gun out through the embrasure as it was firing before blowing up the occupants with hand grenades. During this action, S/Sgt. Sjogren, by his heroic bravery, aggressiveness, and skill as a soldier, singlehandedly killed 43 enemy soldiers and destroyed nine pillboxes, thereby paving the way for his company's successful advance.
Medal of Honor Recipient John C. Sjogren
Medal of Honor Recipient John C. Sjogren
Additional Details
  • Accredited to: Rockford, Kent County, Michigan
  • Awarded Posthumously: No
  • Presentation Date & Details: October 12, 1945
    The White House, presented by Pres. Harry S. Truman
  • Born: August 19, 1916, Rockford, Kent County, MI, United States
  • Died: August 30, 1987, Grand Rapids, MI, United States
  • Buried: Rockford Cemetery (MH) (6-20-2), Rockford, MI, United States
  • Location of Medal: Michigan Heroes Museum (duplicate Medal), Frankenmuth, MI

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