Elden H. Johnson

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Elden H. Johnson
Born February 13, 1921
Bivalve, New Jersey
Died June 3, 1944 (aged 22–23)
near Valmontone, Italy
Place of burial Union Cemetery, Scituate, Massachusetts
Allegiance United States of America
Service/branch United States Army
Years of service 1943 - 1944
Rank Private
Unit 15th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Infantry Division
Battles/wars World War II
Awards Medal of Honor

Elden Harvey Johnson (February 13, 1921 – June 3, 1944) was a United States Army soldier and a recipient of the United States military's highest decoration—the Medal of Honor—for his actions in World War II.

Johnson joined the Army from East Weymouth, Massachusetts in April 1943,[1] and by June 3, 1944 was serving as a private in the 15th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Infantry Division. When his unit was ambushed on that day, near Valmontone, Italy, he deliberately drew the hostile German fire onto himself so that his comrades could escape. He succeeded in destroying a German machine gun position before he was killed. For these actions, he was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor a year later, on May 16, 1945.

Johnson, aged 23 at his death, was buried in Union Cemetery, Scituate, Massachusetts.

Medal of Honor citation[edit]

Private Johnson's official Medal of Honor citation reads:

For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at risk of life above and beyond the call of duty. Pvt. Johnson elected to sacrifice his life in order that his comrades might extricate themselves from an ambush. Braving the massed fire of about 60 riflemen, 3 machineguns, and 3 tanks from positions only 25 yards distant, he stood erect and signaled his patrol leader to withdraw. The whole area was brightly illuminated by enemy flares. Then, despite 20mm. machineguns, machine pistol, and rifle fire directed at him, Pvt. Johnson advanced beyond the enemy in a slow deliberate walk. Firing his automatic rifle from the hip, he succeeded in distracting the enemy and enabled his 12 comrades to escape. Advancing to within 5 yards of a machinegun, emptying his weapon, Pvt. Johnson killed its crew. Standing in full view of the enemy he reloaded and turned on the riflemen to the left, firing directly into their positions. He either killed or wounded 4 of them. A burst of machinegun fire tore into Pvt. Johnson and he dropped to his knees. Fighting to the very last, he steadied himself on his knees and sent a final burst of fire crashing into another German. With that he slumped forward dead. Pvt. Johnson had willingly given his life in order that his comrades might live. These acts on the part of Pvt. Johnson were an inspiration to the entire command and are in keeping with the highest traditions of the armed forces.

Honored in ship naming[edit]

The United States Army ship USAT Private Elden H. Johnson which operated in the Pacific Ocean at the end of World War II was named in his honor.

Johnson Barracks[edit]

In 1949 the former German "Panzerkaserne" at Fuerth/Germany was renamed to Johnson Barracks. From the 1970s Johnson Barracks was home of the 16th Engineer Battalion which supported two brigades of the 1st Armored Division and one brigade of the 2nd AD. It also contained warehouses and other facilities for various supply elements from William O. Darby Barracks.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

 This article incorporates public domain material from websites or documents of the United States Army Center of Military History.