JAMES E. JOHNSON

 

Sergeant
United States Marine Corps
 

James Johnson
CITATION
Sergeant James E. Johnson
United States Marine Corps

For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while serving as a Squad Leader in a Provisional Rifle Platoon composed of Artillery men and attached to Company J, Third Battalion, Seventh Marines, First Marine Division (Reinforced), in action against enemy aggressor forces at Yudam-ni, Korea, on 2 December 1950. Vastly outnumbered by a well-entrenched and cleverly concealed enemy force wearing the uniforms of friendly troops and attacking his platoon's open and unconcealed positions, Sergeant Johnson unhesitatingly took charge of his platoon in the absence of the leader and exhibiting great personal valor in the face of a heavy barrage of hostile fire, coolly proceeded to move about among his men, shouting words of encouragement and inspiration and skillfully directing their fire. Ordered to displace his platoon during the fire fight, he immediately placed himself in an extremely hazardous position from which he could provide covering fire for his men. Fully aware that his voluntary action meant either certain death or capture to himself, he courageously continued to provide effective cover for his men and was last observed in a wounded condition single-handedly engaging enemy troops in close hand grenade and hand-to-hand fighting. By his valiant and inspiring leadership, Sergeant Johnson was directly responsible for the successful completion of the platoon's displacement and the saving of many lives. His dauntless fighting spirit and unfaltering devotion to duty in the face of terrific odds reflect the highest credit upon himself and the United States Naval Service.

Harry S. Truman
President of the United States

Footnote: Sergeant Johnson from  Washington D.C. and Pocatello, Idaho, was a veteran of the Peleliu and Okinawa campaigns in World War II. The Sergeant departed for Korea in August 1950, just five days after the birth of his daughter, Stephanie. His medal was presented to his widow, Mrs. Mary Jeanne Johnson on March 29, 1954, by Secretary of the Navy Robert B. Anderson. In addition to his wife and daughter, Sergeant Johnson was survived by his mother, Mrs. Juanita Hart and a sister, Mrs. Edwin L. Hanke, of Pocatello, Idaho. Although Sergeant Johnson was serving with a provisional company of the 7th Marine Regiment where  by his actions was presented the Medal of Honor, his regular outfit was the 11th Marines, the same regiment his father had served in during World War I.
Sergeant Johnson was born at Pocatello on January 1, 1926. He attended public schools there and played junior varsity basketball for two years in high school before enlisting in the Marine Corps on November 10, 1943. After serving in the Pacific theater and at San Diego he as discharged on February 7, 1946, and returned to Pocatello, where he worked as a machinist in the Naval Ordnance plant. He also attended Western Washington College at Bellingham, Washington, before re-enlisting in the Marines on January 13, 1948.
The Sergeant met his wife while he was stationed at Quantico, Virginia. They were married  on October 15, 1949, and he embarked for Korea after a year as and instructor in post exchange accounting at the Marine Corps Institute, Marine Barracks, 8th and I Streets, S.E. Washington.
In addition to the Medal of Honor, Sergeant Johnson's decorations include: The Purple Heart (Posthumous); the Presidential Unit Citation with one Bronze star for Korean service; the Korean Service Medal with three engagement stars; the Navy Unit Commendation for action on Peleliu: the Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal with two engagement stars; the World War II Victory Medal; and the Navy Occupation Service Medal with Asia Clasp.

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