Ralph H. Johnson
Rank and Organization: Private First
Class, U.S. Marine Corps, Company A, 1st Reconnaissance
Battalion, 1st Marine Division (Rein), FMF.
Place and Date:
Near the Quan Duc Valley, Republic of Vietnam, 5 March
Entered Service At: Oakland, Calif.
Born: 11 January 1949, Charleston, S.C.
Citation: 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,
in action against the North Vietnamese Army and Viet Cong
forces. In the early morning hours during Operation ROCK,
Pfc. Johnson was a member of a 15-man reconnaissance patrol
manning an observation post on Hill 146 overlooking the Quan
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 3-man fighting hole occupied by
Pfc. Johnson and 2 fellow marines. Realizing the inherent
danger to his 2 comrades, he shouted a warning and
unhesitatingly hurled himself upon the explosive device. When
the grenade exploded, Pfc. Johnson absorbed the tremendous
impact of the blast and was killed instantly. His prompt and
heroic act saved the life of 1 marine at the cost of his life and
undoubtedly prevented the enemy from penetrating his sector
of the patrol's perimeter. Pfc. Johnson's courage, inspiring valor
and selfless devotion to duty were in keeping with the highest
traditions of the Marine Corps and the U.S. Naval Service. He
gallantly gave his life for his country.
Office of the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Civilian Personnel Policy.
Black Americans in Defense of Our Nation.
Washington, D.C.: GPO, 1985.