Henry Lincoln Johnson (1897 – July 5, 1929)
On June 2, 2015, President Barack Obama will award the Medal of Honor to Army Private Henry Johnson for conspicuous gallantry during World War I.
Private Henry Johnson will receive the Medal of Honor posthumously for his actions while serving as a member of Company C, 369th Infantry Regiment, 93rd Division, American Expeditionary Forces. Then-Private Johnson distinguished himself during combat operations in the vicinity of the Tourbe and Aisne Rivers, northwest of Saint Menehoul, France, on May 15, 1918.
Private Johnson entered the Army on June 5, 1917. He was assigned to Company C, 15th New York (Colored) Infantry Regiment, an all-black National Guard unit that would later become the 369th Infantry Regiment. The Regiment was ordered into battle in 1918, and Private Johnson and his unit were brigaded with a French Army colonial unit in front-line combat.
While on night sentry duty on May 15, 1918, Private Johnson and a fellow Soldier received a surprise attack by a German raiding party consisting of at least 12 soldiers. While under intense enemy fire and despite receiving significant wounds, Johnson mounted a brave retaliation resulting in several enemy casualties.
When his fellow soldier was badly wounded, Private Johnson prevented him from being taken prisoner by German forces. Private Johnson exposed himself to grave danger by advancing from his position to engage an enemy soldier in hand-to-hand combat. Displaying great courage, Private Johnson held back the enemy force until they retreated.
Command Sergeant Major Louis Wilson, New York National Guard, will join the President at the White House to accept the Medal of Honor on Private Johnson’s behalf.
More on Henry Johnson here
NY Daily News: …. Although doctors had replaced his shin bone with a steel tube and removed most of the bones from one foot, Johnson’s discharge papers rated him as having a zero percent disability, disqualifying him for benefits.
Succumbing to poverty and drink, he died at the age of 32 and was buried in Arlington National Cemetery, his only recognition the French Croix de Guerre.
At last, in 1996, the U.S. awarded Johnson a Purple Heart and followed up in 2002 with the nation’s second-highest commendation, the Distinguished Service Cross. At the time, the military denied Johnson the Medal of Honor, finding insufficient documentation of his heroism.
Subsequently, Sen. Chuck Schumer’s volunteer historians have amassed overwhelming proof that this quintessential Hellfighter from Harlem performed with incomprehensible valor in service of a nation that spurned him at every turn because of skin color.
Full article here