Congressional Medal of Honor Society

Stories of Sacrifice

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World War II - U.S. Army

John Randolph McKinney

  • Rank: Sergeant (rank at time of action: Private)
  • Conflict/Era: World War II
  • Unit/Command:
    Company A, 123d Infantry Regiment,
    33d Infantry Division
  • Military Service Branch: U.S. Army
  • Medal of Honor Action Date: May 11, 1945
  • Medal of Honor Action Place: Tayabas Province, Luzon, Philippine Islands
He fought with extreme gallantry to defend the outpost which had been established near Dingalan Bay. Just before daybreak approximately 100 Japanese stealthily attacked the perimeter defense, concentrating on a light machine-gun position manned by three Americans. Having completed a long tour of duty at this gun, Pvt. McKinney was resting a few paces away when an enemy soldier dealt him a glancing blow on the head with a saber. Although dazed by the stroke, he seized his rifle, bludgeoned his attacker, and then shot another assailant who was charging him. Meanwhile, one of his comrades at the machine gun had been wounded and his other companion withdrew carrying the injured man to safety. Alone, Pvt. McKinney was confronted by 10 infantrymen who had captured the machine gun with the evident intent of reversing it to fire into the perimeter. Leaping into the emplacement, he shot seven of them at point-blank range and killed three more with his rifle butt. In the melee the machine gun was rendered inoperative, leaving him only his rifle with which to meet the advancing Japanese, who hurled grenades and directed knee mortar shells into the perimeter. He warily changed position, secured more ammunition, and reloading repeatedly, cut down waves of the fanatical enemy with devastating fire or clubbed them to death in hand-to-hand combat. When assistance arrived, he had thwarted the assault and was in complete control of the area. Thirty-eight dead Japanese around the machine gun and two more at the side of a mortar 45 yards distant was the amazing toll he had exacted singlehandedly. By his indomitable spirit, extraordinary fighting ability, and unwavering courage in the face of tremendous odds, Pvt. McKinney saved his company from possible annihilation and set an example of unsurpassed intrepidity.
Medal of Honor Recipient John R. McKinney
Medal of Honor Recipient John R. McKinney
Additional Details
  • Accredited to: Woodcliff, Screven County, Georgia
  • Awarded Posthumously: No
  • Presentation Date & Details: January 23, 1946
    The White House, presented by Pres. Harry S. Truman
  • Born: February 26, 1921, Woodcliff, Screven County, GA, United States
  • Died: April 4, 1997, Augusta, GA, United States
  • Buried: Doubleheads Baptist Church Cemetery (MH) , Sylvania, GA, United States

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