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Congressional Medal of Honor Society

Stories of Sacrifice

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Vietnam War - U.S. Marine Corps

Ralph Henry Johnson

  • Rank: Private First Class
  • Conflict/Era: Vietnam War
  • Unit/Command:
    Company A, 1st Reconnaissance Battalion,
    1st Marine Division (Rein) FMF
  • Military Service Branch: U.S. Marine Corps
  • Medal of Honor Action Date: March 5, 1968
  • Medal of Honor Action Place: Hill-146, near Quan Duc Valley, Republic of Vietnam

For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while serving as a reconnaissance scout with Company A, in action against the North Vietnamese Army and Viet Cong forces. In the early morning hours during Operation Rock, Pfc. Johnson was a member of a 15-man reconnaissance patrol manning an observation post on Hill 146 overlooking the Quan Duc Valley deep in enemy-controlled territory. They were attacked by a platoon-size hostile force employing automatic weapons, satchel charges, and hand grenades. Suddenly, a hand grenade landed in the three-man fighting hole occupied by Pfc. Johnson and two fellow marines. Realizing the inherent danger to his two comrades, he shouted a warning and unhesitatingly hurled himself on the explosive device. When the grenade exploded, Pfc. Johnson absorbed the tremendous impact of the blast and was killed instantly. His prompt and heroic act saved the life of one marine at the cost of his life and undoubtedly prevented the enemy from penetrating his sector of the patrol's perimeter. Pfc. Johnson's courage, inspiring valor, and selfless devotion to duty were in keeping with the highest traditions of the Marine Corps and the U.S. Naval Service. He gallantly gave his life for his country.

Medal of Honor Recipient Ralph H. Johnson
Medal of Honor Recipient Ralph H. Johnson
Additional Details
  • Accredited to: Oakland, Alameda County, California
  • Awarded Posthumously: Yes
  • Presentation Date & Details: April 20, 1970

    The White House, presented by Vice Pres. Spiro T. Agnew to his family

  • Born: January 11, 1949, Charleston, Charleston County, SC, United States
  • Died: March 5, 1968, Republic of Vietnam
  • Buried: Beaufort National Cemetery (MH) (B-21), Beaufort, SC, United States
  • Location of Medal: Ralph Johnson Veterans Administration Hospital, Charleston, SC

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