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Donald Ray Johnston

Date of birth: November 19, 1947
Date of death: March 21, 1969
Burial location: Fort Benning, Georgia
Place of Birth: Georgia, Columbus
Home of record: Columbus Georgia
Status: KIA


Medal of Honor

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Awarded for actions during the Vietnam War

The President of the United States of America, in the name of Congress, takes pride in presenting the Medal of Honor (Posthumously) to Specialist Fourth Class Donald Ray Johnston (ASN: 53455789), United States Army, for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while serving with 1st Battalion, 8th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Cavalry Division, in action against enemy aggressor forces in the Republic of Vietnam, on 21 March 1969. Specialist Fourth Class Johnston distinguished himself while serving as a Mortarman with Company D, at a fire support base in Tay Ninh Province. Specialist Fourth Class Johnston's company was in defensive positions when it came under a devastating rocket and mortar attack. Under cover of the bombardment, enemy sappers broke through the defensive perimeter and began hurling explosive charges into the main defensive bunkers. Specialist Fourth Class Johnston and six of his comrades had moved from their exposed positions to one of the bunkers to continue their fight against the enemy attackers. As they were firing from the bunker, an enemy soldier threw three explosive charges into their position. Sensing the danger to his comrades, Specialist Fourth Class Johnston, with complete disregard for his safety, hurled himself onto the explosive charges, smothering the detonations with his body and shielding his fellow soldiers from the blast. His heroic action saved the lives of six of his comrades. Specialist Fourth Class Johnston's concern for his fellow men at the cost of his life were in the highest traditions of the military service and reflect great credit upon himself, his unit, and the United States Army.

General Orders: Department of the Army, General Orders No. 11 (March 9, 1971)

Action Date: 21-Mar-69

Service: Army

Rank: Specialist Fourth Class

Company: Company D

Battalion: 1st Battalion

Regiment: 8th Cavalry Regiment

Division: 1st Cavalry Division