b. 06/12/1919 Caney Creek, Louisiana. d. 15/12/1944 near Limon, Leyte, Philippines.
DATE OF MOH ACTION: 15/12/1944 near Limon, Leyte, Philippines.
Johnson joined the Army from Oakdale, Louisiana on November 26, 1941 and was assigned to the 32nd Infantry Division. On April 6, 1943, Sgt. Johnson was awarded the Silver Star for gallantry in action against entrenched Japanese at Senananda. By December 15, 1944, he was serving as a Sergeant in Company K, 126th Infantry Regiment, 32nd Infantry Division during the Battle of Leyte. On that day, near Limon, Leyte, the Philippines, he smothered the blast of two enemy-thrown grenades with his body, sacrificing himself to protect those around him. For this action, he was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor ten months later, on October 2, 1945.
Johnson was buried at the Manila American Cemetery in Manila, the Philippines. A bronze memorial plaque in his honor was mounted on the wall of the Allen Parish courthouse in Oberlin, Louisiana, a few miles south of his native Oakdale.
He was a squad leader of a nine-man patrol sent to reconnoiter a ridge held by a well-entrenched enemy force. Seeing an enemy machine-gun position, he ordered his men to remain behind while he crawled to within six yards of the gun. One of the enemy crew jumped up and prepared to man the weapon. Quickly withdrawing, Sgt. Johnson rejoined his patrol and reported the situation to his commanding officer. Ordered to destroy the gun, which covered the approaches to several other enemy positions, he chose three other men, armed them with hand grenades, and led them to a point near the objective. After taking partial cover behind a log, the men had knocked out the gun and begun an assault when hostile troops on the flank hurled several grenades. As he started for cover, Sgt. Johnson saw two unexploded grenades which had fallen near his men. Knowing that his comrades would be wounded or killed by the explosion, he deliberately threw himself on the grenades and received their full charge in his body. Fatally wounded by the blast, he died soon afterward. Through his outstanding gallantry in sacrificing his life for his comrades, Sgt. Johnson provided a shining example of the highest traditions of the U.S. Army.
BURIAL LOCATION: MANILA AMERICAN CEMETERY AND MEMORIAL, MANILA, PHILIPPINES.
SECTION C, ROW 10, GRAVE 79.
LOCATION OF MEDAL: FAMILY.