October 25, 2022

Pocatello, ID–Pocatello’s only Medal of Honor recipient will be honored on Wednesday, November 2, in a 1:00 p.m. ceremony at the Bannock County Veterans Memorial Building.  During the ceremony, a proclamation will be read designating every November 2 as James E. Johnson Day in Bannock County.  Refreshments will be served after the ceremony courtesy of the Amvets Auxiliary Post 1 and the Marine Corps League.

Marine Sergeant James E. Johnson was awarded the Medal of Honor for single-handedly covering the retreat of his men during the Battle of Chosin Reservoir in Korea in December of 1950.  The citation, signed by President Harry S Truman, reads:

For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while serving as a Squad Leader in a Provisional Rifle Platoon composed of Artillery men and attached to Company J, Third Battalion, Seventh Marines, First Marine Division (Reinforced), in action against enemy aggressor forces at Yudam-ni, Korea, on 2 December 1950. Vastly outnumbered by a well-entrenched and cleverly concealed enemy force wearing the uniforms of friendly troops and attacking his platoon’s open and unconcealed positions, Sergeant Johnson unhesitatingly took charge of his platoon in the absence of the leader and exhibiting great personal valor in the face of a heavy barrage of hostile fire, coolly proceeded to move about among his men, shouting words of encouragement and inspiration and skillfully directing their fire. Ordered to displace his platoon during the fire fight, he immediately placed himself in an extremely hazardous position from which he could provide covering fire for his men. Fully aware that his voluntary action meant either certain death or capture to himself, he courageously continued to provide effective cover for his men and was last observed in a wounded condition single-handedly engaging enemy troops in close hand grenade and hand-to-hand fighting. By his valiant and inspiring leadership, Sergeant Johnson was directly responsible for the successful completion of the platoon’s displacement and the saving of many lives. His dauntless fighting spirit and unfaltering devotion to duty in the face of terrific odds reflect the highest credit upon himself and the United States Naval Service.

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