Ralph Henry Johnson

Private First Class
United States Marine Corps
11 January 1949 - 05 March 1968
Charleston, South Carolina
Panel 43E Line 008

Medal of Honor

Purple Heart, National Defense, Vietnam Service, RVN Cross of Gallantry, RVN Military Merit, RVN Vietnam Campaign

The database page for Ralph Henry Johnson

13 Dec 2000

We all have seen movies where a soldier covers a grenade with his body to save his buddies.

Private First Class Ralph H. Johnson did exactly that.

Ralph Henry Johnson's actions on behalf of his comrades are worthy of the utmost respect and admiration.

He deserves to be remembered by all Americans.

A memorial from one who remembers,
but wishes to remain anonymous.

The President of the United States
in the name of the Congress of the United States
takes pride in presenting the


posthumously to

Private First Class
United States Marine Corps

for service as set forth in the following


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 United States Naval Service. He gallantly gave his life for his country.

Memorial Day 2002

To the one who remembers:

While visiting The Virtual Wall and my dear friend, Jimmy Edwards, who was also killed in combat, I began to read the memorials to those incredibly brave men who received the Medal of Honor. Was deeply moved by Mr. Johnson's heroism, and thank you for this glimpse into his life. I WILL remember him and the selfless sacrifice he made to save his comrades. May this Memorial Day bring you fond memories and peace. God Bless.


30 Oct 2002

"Roses are red."
"Violets are blue."
"I miss Ralph the person who was true blue."

Tomeka Nicole Johnson

March 13th, 2004

I am proud to say that even though I never knew PFC Ralph H. Johnson, I do work at the Ralph H. Johnson VA Medical Center in Charleston, South Carolina. I am very thankful to PFC Johnson for his sacrifice. I love my country and I show my love by working at the Hospital named in his honor. I was brought up to believe in Honor. My Father is Retired United States Navy. All I can say is... GOD BLESS OUR UNITED STATES ARMED FORCES! And May they all come home safely to their loved ones!


19 Nov 2005

To the family of Pfc Johnson -

I came to know of Ralph after hearing his company Lieutenant, Clebe McClary, at one of his public speaking events. I was the youth pastor at Wampee Baptist Church in Horry County, SC. I had always tried to help my kids understand what honor and commitment to their country really meant. On the night Lt McClary spoke I had a large number of kids in the the church, and they listened as he spoke about your loved one. Many of the kids that night never really took the time before to understand what your loved one went through in Vietnam - most of the children had never even studied the war. As I was saying Lt McClary told us about how Ralph's action that day on the hill in Vietnam saved his life and those of many more young Marines. As a tribute to your son the lieutenant told of his bravery and his love for his fellow Marines, that he gave his life for his brothers. After that night all of my youth had the honor of knowing Pfc Ralph Johnson USMC and finally understood what I had been trying to tell them. Your loved one is a hero and should always be thought of in the highest.

As a personal note, Ralph, I am proud of you and I hope that when my time comes and I find myself at the gates of heaven I know that I will be able to shake your hand and say to you, "Semper Fi, Marine".

From a thankful American,
Chris Workman
709 Gayle St, North Myrtle Beach, South Carolina

17 Jan 2006

To all those who have visited:

Thank you for your kind words and beautiful sentiments. Our family continues to mourn the loss of my uncle Ralph and the men and women who continue to fight and die for this country. It is comforting to know that the American people support our armed forces not only while in combat, but in rehabilitation and life after war. Please remind everyone to say the names of those who have fallen so their spirits will live on.

Gregory Richards
Nephew of PFC Ralph H. Johnson

10 Apr 2006

God's Blessings
to my fellow January 11 baby


A Note from The Virtual Wall

The recon patrol, named "TEXAS PETE", consisted of 15 men - the patrol leader, Lt McClary; twelve Recon Marines; a combat engineer; and a Corpsman. They departed Landing Zone FINCH at 10 AM on 02 March by CH-46 helicopter with an expected return date of 07 March. TEXAS PETE's observation post was established on "an almost bare hilltop with low scrub brush. The slopes of the hill are terraced."

Between 1745 02 March and sundown on 04 March the patrol sighted NVA/VC troops on 12 occasions, directing artillery fire on the enemy on each occasion. The post-patrol report, contained in the 1st Recon Bn's Command Chronology for March 1968, includes the following description of the attack which began at 12:45 AM on 05 March:

"050045H AT823453 - 15 VC attacking patrol's position. VC fired 4 rockets of unknown type which overshot the patrol's position by 200 meters. Patrol then began to take grenades and a/w fire. VC assaulted the position and planted a red and blue flag with a star 10 meters from the patrol's position. Patrol returned fire and utilized SPOOKY [Note: AC-47 gunship]. Patrol was extracted. Action resulted in 1 VC KIA conf, 2 USMC KIA, and 4 USMC WIA."
The dead were Pfc Johnson and Pfc Thomas E. Jennings of Lancaster, Pennsylvania.

Ralph Johnson Medical Center

On September 5th, 1991, the Charleston Veterans Affairs Medical Center was dedicated to Ralph H Johnson.

The point-of-contact for this memorial is
his nephew,
Gregory A. Richards
13 Dec 2000

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With all respect
Jim Schueckler, former CW2, US Army
Ken Davis, Commander, United States Navy (Ret)
Last updated 11/13/2010