The Marine Corps Medal of Honor Recipients

Featuring Marine Medal of Honor Recipients From WWII-Korea-Viet Nam And Iraqi Freedom


United States Marine Corps
Ralph Johnson





 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, First Reconnaissance Battalion, First Marine Division in action against the North Vietnamese Army and Viet Cong forces in the Republic of Vietnam. In the early morning hours of 5 March 1968, during OPERATION ROCK, First Class Johnson was a member of a fifteen-man reconnaissance patrol manning an observation post on Hill 146 overlooking the Quan Duc 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 Private First Class Johnson and two fellow Marines. Realizing the inherent danger to his comrades, he shouted a warning and unhesitatingly hurled himself upon the explosive device. When the grenade exploded, Private First Class 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 own and undoubtedly prevented the enemy from penetrating his sector of the patrol's perimeter. Private First Class Johnson's courage inspiring valor and selfless devotion to duty were in keeping with the highest traditions of the Marine Corps and the United States Naval Service. He gallantly gave his life for his country.

President of the United States

Ralph H. Johnson, who was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for heroism in Vietnam in March 1968, was born 11 January 1949, in Charleston, South Carolina. He attended Sinemonton Elementary School and Courtnay Elementary School in Charleston.

He enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve at Oakland, California, 23 March 1967, and was discharged to enlist in the regular Marine Corps, 2 July 1967.

Upon completion of recruit training with the 1st Recruit Training Battalion, Recruit Training Regiment, Marine Corps Recruit Depot, San Diego, California, in September 1967, he was transferred to the Marine Corps Base, Camp Pendleton, California. He underwent individual combat training with Company Y, 3d Battalion, 2d Infantry Regiment, and basic infantry training with the Basic Infantry Training Company, 2d Infantry Training Regiment, completing the latter in November 1967. He was promoted to private first class, 1 November 1967.

In January 1968, he arrived in the Republic of Vietnam, and served as a reconnaissance scout with Company A, 1st Reconnaissance Battalion, 1st Marine Division. On 5 March 1968, while on Operation Rock, deep in enemy-held territory near the Quan Duc Duc Valley, he was killed in action.

A complete list of his medals and decorations includes: the Medal of Honor, the Purple Heart, the National Defense Service Medal, the Vietnam Service Medal with two bronze stars, the Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry with Palm, the Vietnamese Military Merit Medal, and the Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal.
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