Rank and organization:   Sergeant, U.S. Army, Company B, 363d Infantry,
91st Infantry Division.
Place and date:   Near Scarperia, Italy, 1618 September
Entered service at:   Foster City, Mich.
Birth:   Foster City, Mich.
G.O. No.: 58, 19 July 1945.
Citation:   (then Pfc.) He practically single-handed
protected the left flank of his company's position in the offensive to
break the German's gothic line. Company B was the extreme left assault
unit of the corps. The advance was stopped by heavy fire from Monticelli
Ridge, and the company took cover behind an embankment. Sgt. Johnson, a
mortar gunner, having expended his ammunition, assumed the duties of a
rifleman. As leader of a squad of 7 men he was ordered to establish a combat
post 50 yards to the left of the company to cover its exposed flank. Repeated
enemy counterattacks, supported by artillery, mortar, and machinegun fire
from the high ground to his front, had by the afternoon of 16 September
killed or wounded all his men. Collecting weapons and ammunition from his
fallen comrades, in the face of hostile fire, he held his exposed position
and inflicted heavy casualties upon the enemy, who several times came close
enough to throw hand grenades. On the night of 1617 September, the enemy
launched his heaviest attack on Company B, putting his greatest pressure
against the lone defender of the left flank. In spite of mortar fire which
crashed about him and machinegun bullets which whipped the crest of his
shallow trench, Sgt. Johnson stood erect and repulsed the attack with grenades
and small arms fire. He remained awake and on the alert throughout the
night, frustrating all attempts at infiltration. On 17 September, 25 German
soldiers surrendered to him. Two men, sent to reinforce him that afternoon,
were caught in a devastating mortar and artillery barrage. With no thought
of his own safety, Sgt. Johnson rushed to the shell hole where they lay
half buried and seriously wounded, covered their position by his fire,
and assisted a Medical Corpsman in rendering aid. That night he secured
their removal to the rear and remained on watch until his company was relieved.
Five companies of a German paratroop regiment had been repeatedly committed
to the attack on Company B without success. Twenty dead Germans were found
in front of his position. By his heroic stand and utter disregard for personal
safety, Sgt. Johnson was in a large measure responsible for defeating the
enemy's attempts to turn the exposed left flank.
This data was extracted from the Committee on Veterans' Affairs, U.S. Senate, Medal of Honor Recipients: 1863-1973 (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1973)