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WWI -held Henry Johnson ontvang uiteindelik 'n erepenning

WWI -held Henry Johnson ontvang uiteindelik 'n erepenning

In 1917 werk Henry Johnson as spoorwegportier in Albany, New York, toe die Verenigde State oorlog teen Duitsland verklaar het. Destyds, voordat die Wet op selektiewe diens diensplig ingevoer het, was Afro-Amerikaanse vrywilligers slegs toegelaat in vier heeltemal swart regimente in die weermag en 'n paar eenhede van die National Guard. Johnson het by die 15de New York National Guard Regiment aangesluit, wat vir die doeleindes van die oorlog omskep is in die 369ste Infanterieregiment. Die regiment het tot die grootliks swart 93ste afdeling van die American Expeditionary Force behoort, 'n haastig saamgestelde afdeling wat onder die eerste Amerikaanse magte sou wees wat in Frankryk sou aankom. Die meeste van die 369ste se soldate kom uit Harlem, San Juan Hill (omstreeks 59ste straat in Manhattan) en Williamsburg, Brooklyn; na hul uitbuiting in Frankryk, sou hulle die 'Harlem Hellfighters' genoem word.

In die vroeë maande van 1918, met Frankryk tot sy uiterste in sy stryd teen Duitsland, het die Amerikaanse generaal John Pershing die 369ste aan die Vierde Leër geleen, hoewel hy dit duidelik gemaak het dat hy swart soldate minderwaardig as blankes beskou. Trouens, Pershing het selfs verder gegaan in sy opdrag aan die Franse militêre sending, en geskryf dat die swartman nie 'n 'burgerlike en professionele gewete' het nie en 'n 'konstante bedreiging vir die Amerikaner' was. Tot hul eer, het die Franse min aandag aan Pershing se waarskuwings gegee. Hulle het die 369ste na die westelike rand van die Argonne -woud, in die Champagne -streek van Frankryk, gestuur.

Johnson en 'n ander privaat, Needham Roberts van New Jersey, was in die Franse militêre kledingstuk gedien in die nag van 4 Mei 1918, toe Duitse skerpskutters op hulle begin skiet. Johnson begin granate na die naderende Duitsers gooi; getref deur 'n Duitse granaat, kon Roberts net meer van die klein bomme aan Johnson gee om na die vyand te kyk. Toe hy sy voorraad granate opgebruik het, het Johnson sy geweer begin afvuur, maar dit het gou vasgekeer toe hy nog 'n patroon wou insit. Teen daardie tyd het die Duitsers die twee private omsingel, en Johnson het sy geweer as 'n stok gebruik totdat die boude geskeur het. Hy het gesien hoe die Duitsers probeer om Roberts gevange te neem, en het met sy enigste oorblywende wapen, 'n bolo -mes, op hulle aangekla.

Johnson het een soldaat in die maag gesteek en 'n ander in die ribbes, en nog steeds baklei toe meer Franse en Amerikaanse troepe op die toneel aankom, wat die Duitsers laat terugtrek het. Toe die versterkings daar kom, het Johnson beswyk van die 21 wonde wat hy in die stryd van een uur opgedoen het. Alles in ag genome, het hy vier Duitsers doodgemaak en nog 10 tot 20 gewond, en hulle verhinder om die Franse lyn te breek. Die Franse het Johnson en Roberts die Croix de Guerre toegeken; Johnson's bevat die gesogte Gold Palm vir buitengewone dapperheid. In totaal verdien ongeveer 500 lede van die Harlem Hellfighters die Croix de Guerre tydens die Eerste Wêreldoorlog, wat Frankryk se waardering vir hul opoffering toon.

Toe Johnson en sy mede -Hellfighters in Februarie 1919 by die huis aankom, is hulle vereer met 'n parade in Fifth Avenue in New York. Duisende toeskouers het langs die roete gestap om te sien hoe Johnson byna 3 000 troepe in 'n oop motor na Harlem lei, terwyl hulle 'n ruiker lelies vashou. Die viering het egter 'n donker kant: die 369ste het hul eie parade gekry omdat hulle nie saam met ander terugkeer Amerikaanse troepe by die amptelike oorwinningsparade kon aansluit nie.

Alhoewel die voormalige Amerikaanse president Theodore Roosevelt Johnson een van die 'vyf dapperste Amerikaners' genoem het om in die Eerste Wêreldoorlog te dien, en die regering sy beeld op seëls vir oorwinningsoorlog en werwermateriaal gebruik het, het Johnson se ontslagpapiere geen melding gemaak van sy vele wonde nie, en hy het na die oorlog geen ongeskiktheidsvergoeding ontvang nie. Johnson het teruggekeer na Albany, en na sy werk as spoorwegportier, maar sy beserings het hom moeilik gemaak om te werk, en hy het gou begin afneem in alkoholisme en armoede. Sy vrou en kinders het hom verlaat, en hy is in 1929 op 32 -jarige ouderdom oorlede, sonder dat iemand in sy familie weet, beland hy in 'n arm arm in Albany.

Vanaf die 1990's het Johnson se verhaal egter meer erkenning gekry. Albany het 'n monument ter ere van hom opgerig, en 'n veldtog is van stapel gestuur om die Amerikaanse regering Johnson postuum te laat erken vir sy diens. Onder leiding van Johnson se seun Herman - wat tydens die Tweede Wêreldoorlog een van die beroemde Tuskegee Airmen was - en New Yorkse politici, waaronder senator Chuck Schumer, het die pogings oor die jare veld gewen, en in 1996 het president Bill Clinton Johnson 'n Purple Heart toegeken. In 2001 het historici van die New Yorkse afdeling vir militêre en vlootaangeleenthede bevestig dat Johnson in Julie 1929 'n begrafnis met militêre eer op die Arlington Nasionale Begraafplaas ontvang het, sonder dat sy familie dit geweet het. In 2002 het die Amerikaanse weermag Johnson die tweede hoogste militêre eer van die land, die Distinguished Service Cross, toegeken.

Tog het Schumer en ander Johnson -ondersteuners hul toegewyde veldtog voortgesit om Johnson die erkenning te wen wat hulle gevoel het dat hy verdien, en is slegs geweier weens die kleur van sy vel. Na byna twee dekades is hul pogings verlede maand uiteindelik beloon toe die Withuis aangekondig het dat Johnson op 2 Junie die Medal of Honor sou ontvang. kort na die Argonne -stryd, met lof vir Johnson se optrede. Soos berig deur NBC News, het een van senator Schumer se personeellede die voorheen onbekende dokument in haar navorsing opgedaag, tesame met eerstehands verslae van die geveg van Roberts en ander soldate. Herman Johnson is in 2004 oorlede, en kommandosersant -majoor Louis Wilson van die New York National Guard het die Medal of Honor namens Henry Johnson aanvaar.

William Shemin, 'n mede -veteraan uit die Eerste Wêreldoorlog, is ook tydens die seremonie van die Withuis met 'n postuum van eerbewys bekroon; sy dogters, Ina Bass en Elsie Shemin-Roth, namens hom aanvaar. As lid van die 47ste Infanterieregiment, 4de Infanteriedivisie, het Shemin in Augustus 1918 beheer oor sy peloton geneem nadat sy beamptes beseer of doodgemaak is, totdat hy getref is deur 'n Duitse masjiengeweerkoeël wat deur sy helm gesteek is. Shemin, wat Jood was, het die Purple Heart vir sy gevegsbeserings ontvang en is in Desember 1919 met die Distinguished Service Cross bekroon, maar - net soos Johnson - is die grootste eer van die land geweier, waarskynlik as gevolg van die hewige diskriminasie van die era.


“Black Death ” – Henry Johnson – American ’s First World War Hero

Henry Johnson was 'n soldaat uit die Eerste Wêreldoorlog wat 'n Duitse aanranding uit sy eie dood geslaan het terwyl hy ernstig gewond was. Hy was 'n groot Amerikaanse held en het die hoogste militêre eer van twee verskillende lande ontvang. Een van die lande, sy eie, het egter nie die medalje toegeken tot byna 100 jaar na sy diens in WWI nie.

Die eer wat hierdie man verdien het, is nie deur die Amerikaanse regering toegeken by sy terugkeer huis toe nie, omdat hy swart was. Maar daardie rassisme is uiteindelik oorkom, al was dit net deur die onmiskenbare herinnering aan sy heldhaftigheid.

15de Infanterie, in Frankryk, met Franse helms op.

In 1917 het 'n jong man wat as Red Cap -portier by 'n Albany, New York -treinstasie werk, by die 15de New York National Guard Regiment aangesluit. Weens die Amerikaanse segregasiebeleid was dit 'n heeltemal swart regiment. Omdat die VSA oorlog teen Duitsland en sy bondgenote na Frankryk gestuur het, is die 15de New York hernoem tot die 369ste infanterieregiment en onder die Amerikaanse ekspedisiemag onder generaal John J. Pershing geplaas.

Johnson het op Oujaarsdag, 1918, in Frankryk aangekom. Die Afro-Amerikaanse troepe van die Amerikaanse weermag is geteister, soms selfs gedood, deur hul blanke eweknieë wat soms sou weier om langs hulle te veg. Die beamptes het hulle ook wantrou, geteister en neerbuigende opmerkings en pamflette aan die Franse weermag en burgerlikes oor hul swart soldate gerig.

Swart regimente was dus baie swak opgelei en word meestal toegewy aan arbeid, soos die vervoer van voorraad en grawe van slote en latrines.

Die Franse het egter nie byna voldoen aan die blinde vooroordeel van die Amerikaanse weermag nie. Toe hul vierde weermag, met 'n tekort aan troepe, die 369ste infanterieregiment aangebied om hul lyn te versterk, het hulle die soldate met graagte aangevat en dit net so gebruik. Hulle het Franse gewere en helms gekry en gestasioneer by voorpos 20 in die Argonne -woud, in die Champagne -streek in Frankryk, net wes van die berugte slagvelde van Verdun.

William Henry Johnson en Needham Roberts staan ​​met hul Franse Croix de Guerre -medaljes in 1918.

In die vroeë oggendure van 14 Mei 1918 was Johnson en Needham Roberts van Trenton, New Jersey, op diens. Net voor 02:00 wip skote van Duitse skerpskutters verby en hulle weet die vyand is op pad.

Om 02:00 hoor Johnson en Roberts die snippie en sny van snyers op die omtrekdraad en maak gereed vir 'n aanval. Johnson, met 'n boks granate aan sy sy, het Roberts aangesê om terug te hardloop en die Franse troepe te waarsku.

Terwyl Roberts hardloop, begin Johnson granate uit die sloot gooi, na die Duitsers. Uit die donkerte reageer die Duitsers in natura met granate en geweervuur. Roberts kon sy kameraad nie agterlaat nie en hardloop terug om te help, maar hy word deur 'n Duitse granaat getref en ernstig gewond in sy arm en heup.

Toe hy klaar was met granate, het Johnson sy geweer afgevuur. Hy is getref deur 'n geweervuur ​​te beantwoord, terwyl hy in sy hande en gesig geslaan het. Hy het ronde na ronde geskiet totdat hy per ongeluk 'n Amerikaanse ammunisiepatroon gegryp en sy Franse geweer vasgesteek het.

Skielik was die Duitsers oral rond en spring in die loopgraaf. Minstens 'n dosyn soldate sak af op die twee gewonde mans wat deur hul wit Amerikaanse kamerade vermoedelik minderwaardig was. Johnson, reeds met talle koeëlgate in sy liggaam, het bewys dat die idee van minderwaardigheid heeltemal onwaar is.

William Henry Johnson en Needham Roberts in 1918.

Met sy geweer as 'n klub, swaai hy na die vyand en val verlammende houe totdat sy voorraad uiteindelik verpletter word. Johnson is oor die kop geslaan en ineengestort. Miskien as hy alleen was, sou hy dit laat vaar het, natuurlik in die minderheid en ernstig beseer. Maar hy kon sien hoe die Duitse soldate Roberts gryp en hom as 'n gevangene wegneem.

Johnson het opgespring, sy bolmes uitgehaal en weer in die vyand gestorm.

Die mes wat hy in sy hand gegryp het, is byna tien jaar tevore deur die Amerikaanse weermag aangeneem. Die weermag het dit die eerste keer teëgekom in die Spaans-Amerikaanse oorlog, onder leiding van inheemse guerrilla-vegters in die Filippyne. Hierdie groot mes, meestal tussen 'n voet en twee voet lank, word meestal vir landboudoeleindes gebruik, gemaak deur metaalwerkers regoor die land. Op die agterkant van sy skerp, geboë lem het die bolo 'n besonderse sny- en inbraakwapen gemaak wat bene met een goed gebalanseerde swaai kon skeur.

Die Duitsers in die loopgraaf het 'n vinnige les gekry oor hoe skrikwekkend hierdie wapen was toe 'n man hom daartoe verbind het om tot sy laaste asem te veg.

Johnson het een soldaat in die maag gesteek. Hy het 'n beampte vermoor toe hy in die arm geskiet is. Een Duitser het probeer om hom aan te pak deur op sy rug te spring, maar is in plaas daarvan deur Johnson se mes tussen sy ribbes gestuit. Oorweldig deur sy woede en met die geluid van Franse en Amerikaanse troepe wat na die skermutseling hardloop, hardloop die Duitsers terug in die nag.

Kolonel Hayward ’s “Hell Fighters ” in parade. Die beroemde 369ste infanterie wat in New York marsjeer ter ere van hul terugkeer na hierdie land.

Toe die versterkings aankom, val Johnson in duie. Hy is geskiet, gesteek, geslaan en met granaatskerwe geslaan en het in sy desperate geveg altesaam 21 ernstige beserings opgedoen.

Die hele Franse mag in die streek het byeengekom om te sien dat Johnson en Roberts die Croix du Guerre, die land se hoogste militêre eer, bekroon het. Hulle was die eerste Amerikaanse soldate wat ooit hierdie onderskeiding behaal het. Johnson se medalje is verder versier met die Goue Palm. Hy het bekend gestaan ​​as 'Black Death'.

By sy terugkeer huis toe lei Johnson, bevorder tot sersant, 'n parade van 3 000 man van die 369ste deur New York na Harlem. Meer as 500 man van die 369ste het die Croix du Guerre verdien sedert Johnson en Roberts en verder een van die mees versierde Amerikaanse regimente geword wat in WWI gedien het. Hulle het die bynaam "Harlem Hellfighters" gekry. Maar ten spyte hiervan was die parade wat Johnson gelei het, slegs vir swart dienspligtiges, aangesien hulle nie aan die belangrikste oorwinningsparade kon deelneem nie.

Om 'n verdere belediging vir Johnson se beserings toe te voeg, is geen melding gemaak van sy gevegswonde in sy ontslagpapiere nie. Dit het beteken dat hy nie net 'n pers hart ontvang het nie, maar ook mediese voordele geweier is weens 'n beseerde veteraan, selfs toe die Amerikaanse weermag sy verhaal as propaganda vir werwing gebruik het.

'N Biografiese tekenprent van 1946 van Henry Johnson wat deur Charles Alston geskep is.

As gevolg van sy beserings kon hy nie 'n werk behou nie. Sy vrou en drie kinders het hom agtergelaat met alkoholisme. In 1929 sterf hy op 32 -jarige ouderdom, 'n weggooide Amerikaanse held.

Maar sy geheue het voortbestaan. Sy seun, Herman Johnson, wat in die Tweede Wêreldoorlog in die Tuskegee Airmen gedien het, het saam met die senator Chuck Schumer van New York en ander geveg om sy pa se dapperheid amptelik te erken. In die 1990's is 'n monument in Albany opgerig ter ere van Johnson en president Bill Clinton het hom postuum die Purple Heart toegeken. In 2002 verleen die Amerikaanse weermag hom die Distinguished Service Cross, die tweede hoogste eer wat die weermag het. In 2015 gee president Barack Obama Johnson die hoogste eer, die Medal of Honor. Die Franse herken hom lankal as 'n oorlogsheld.

Voordat Johnson se seun in 2004 oorlede is, moes hy by sy vader se graf gaan staan. Herman Johnson het die grootste deel van sy lewe deurgebring in die oortuiging dat sy pa in 'n onbekende arm se graf gelê is. Maar militêre rekords wat in 2001 gevind is, onthul dat Johnson met volle eer op die Arlington National Cemetery begrawe is.


WWI 'Harlem Hellfighter ' Henry Johnson om Medal of Honor te ontvang

Hulle het sers. Henry Johnson "Black Death", 'n soldaat van die geheel-swart "Harlem Hellfighters" -eenheid wat tydens die Eerste Wêreldoorlog twee dosyn Duitsers met 'n geweer en dan 'n mes afgeveg het

Maar toe die oorlog eindig en die lof van president Theodore Roosevelt en die Franse, wat hom die hoogste toekenning vir dapperheid in die land toegeken het, die 'Croix de Guerre avec Palme', vervaag in die reses van die Amerikaanse geskiedenis, kon Johnson nie eens 'n pensioen. Dit was 'n era van rasseskeiding en Johnson, wat hom in die toespraak van 1919 teen rassisme in die weermag uitgespreek het, is op 32 -jarige ouderdom oorlede nadat hy sy posdiensloopbaan as portier vir die spoorwegdiens deurgebring het.

Nou, byna 'n eeu na sy pogings in die geveg, het die Withuis hierdie week aangekondig dat Johnson die Medal of Honor sal ontvang. Johnson en nog 'n veteraan van die Eerste Wêreldoorlog, William Shemin, 'n Joodse sersant wat gelieg het oor sy ouderdom om te dien, en uiteindelik 'n peloton in die geveg gelei het, word op 2 Junie met die hoogste militêre eer van die land bekroon.

Shemin se dogter sal die toekenning namens hom aanvaar. Johnson se toekenning word aanvaar deur kommandosersant Louis Wilson van die New York National Guard.

Vir wetgewers in New York, waaronder die voormalige senator Alfonse D'Amato en senator Chuck Schumer, was die strewe om te verseker dat Johnson se pogings erken word 'n byna twintig jaar lange sage wat omvattende navorsing verg, en wetgewing deur die kongres goedgekeur is om afstand te doen van die verjaring , en voorspraak deur historici.

Bill voorgestel vir Henry Johnson Medal of Honor -veldtog - Times Union http://t.co/61XzZxpMg6 via @TimesUnion

- Paul Tonko (@RepPaulTonko) 11 September 2014

"Sers. Henry Johnson, 'n inwoner van Albany en Harlem Hellfighter, is 'n ware Amerikaanse held wat die diepste dapperheid van die slagveld in die Eerste Wêreldoorlog getoon het, maar die nasie waarvoor hy bereid was om sy lewe te gee, het skandelik nie sy heldinne erken nie, net omdat hy 'n swart man was, 'het Schumer in 'n verklaring gesê.

"Hierdie eeue oue onreg wat uiteindelik reggemaak is, sal 'n diepgaande gebaar wees wat 'n hartseer hoofstuk in die Amerikaanse geskiedenis sal regstel. En ons nasie sal uiteindelik 'dankie' sê vir sersant Johnson en die ontelbare ander Afro-Amerikaners wat hul lewens opgehou het die lyn vir 'n nasie wat hulle nie met volle gelykheid voor die wet behandel het nie, 'het Schumer gesê.

In die vroeë 1900's is Johnson, wat in Albany, New York, gewoon het, geïnspireer deur die weermag se werwingspogings om by 'n Afro -Amerikaanse regiment aan te sluit met die bynaam "die Harlem Hellfighters" om te help met die veldtog in Europa. Johnson en sy kamerade is na Europa ontplooi en het verskeie take gekry, soos die grawe van latrines.

Maar terwyl Frankryk gesukkel het om sy oorlogspogings aan te hou, het genl John Pershing aan die Franse die 'Harlem Hellfighters' geleen met 'n bietjie advies: Hou die swart soldate fyn dop, want hulle is 'minderwaardig' teenoor blankes, volgens die New York State Military Museum.

Die Franse het Johnson, wat destyds 'n privaat was, en medesoldaat Needham Roberts, 'n privaat van Trenton, New Jersey, in Franse helms en wapens, het hulle 'n klompie Franse frases geleer en na 'n voorpos aan die rand van die Argonne -woud, volgens Smithsonian Magazine.

Dit was nie lank nie voordat Johnson die 'snippin' and clippin '' gehoor het van Duitsers wat die draadheinings naby die Franse kamp afsny. Volgens historiese berigte het hy en Roberts in aksie gespring en granate in die nag in die rigting van die Duitse vuur geslinger.

Uiteindelik is die twee mans omring. Johnson swaai sy geweer, wat vasgekeer het, na die vyandelike magte en toe dit breek en hy op die kop raak, slaan hy 'n bolo -mes uit en kap 'n pad sodat hy en Roberts kan ontsnap.

'Elke snit beteken iets, glo my,' het Johnson later gesê volgens historiese verslae en Smithsonian Magazine. "Ek het nie oefeninge gedoen nie, laat ek jou vertel."

Toe alles klaar was, het Johnson vier Duitse soldate doodgemaak en nog ongeveer 20 gewond. Hy het 21 wonde opgedoen tydens die geveg en sy poging het gehelp om die lyn teen die Duitsers te hou.

'Daar was niks so fyn daaraan nie,' sou Johnson later volgens die Smithsonian -artikel sê. "Net vir my lewe geveg. 'N Konyn sou dit gedoen het."

Johnson het 'n held na sy geboorteland teruggekeer en saam met die Harlem Hellfighters in 'n parade van Fifth Avenue gery. Hy is ook bevorder tot sersant en die weermag gebruik sy gelykenis om oorlogseëls te werf en te verkoop met 'n advertensieveldtog wat lui: "Henry Johnson het 'n dosyn Duitsers gelek. Hoeveel seëls het jy gelek?"

Maar omdat sy ontslagpapiere nie melding maak van sy beserings nie, wat 'n erg beskadigde voet insluit, of sy strydpogings, het Johnson nooit pensioen gekry nie. Hy het destyds ook nie die Purple Heart ontvang nie, wat toegeken word aan diegene wat in militêre diens gewond is.

Johnson se verhaal het in die geskiedenis verdwyn.

Toe, in 1999, het 'n plaaslike historikus en die Viëtnam -veteraan John Howe die verhaal van Johnson onder die aandag van Schumer se kantoor gebring, volgens medewerkers van die kongres.

Sers. Henry Johnson se verhaal is 'n verhaal van heldhaftigheid en moed. Danksy @SenSchumer sal hy die eer kry wat hy verdien. https://t.co/PwfeOjBw4P

-Dan McCoy-CountyExec (@MCCoyCountyExec) 15 Mei 2015

Personeel het gesukkel om feite en inligting te vind wat oënskynlik verlore was in die geskiedenis. Schumer het Johnson se saak na sommige van die hoogste vlakke van die Pentagon geneem, het kantooramptenare gesê, maar die kriteria vir die toekenning van die Medal of Honor is streng en sonder deeglike dokumentasie, en na die dood van Howe is die soeke gestrem.

'N Paar jaar gelede kom 'n jong kongresmedewerker met die naam Caroline Wekselbaum op 'n artikel oor Johnson af. Sy het uitgevra oor vorige pogings en die senator en sy personeel gevra of sy daaroor kan ronddwaal.

Sy het aanlyn rekords gegrawe wat vermoedelik verlore was, en omdat sy militêre sake vir Schumer gedoen het, het sy geweet wat die Army Awards -tak nodig het.

Na 'n paar weke se intense soektogte, vind sy 'n mededeling van genl Pershing wat min mense weet bestaan. Kort na die geveg, het Pershing verslag gedoen van Johnson se dade en hom aanbeveel vir dapperheid.

Sy vind toe ander dokumente van Johnson se jakkalsgatmaat, Needham Roberts, en ander wat die nodige eerstehands rekeninge gee.

Gewapen met hierdie nuwe bewyse, het Wekselbaum die oorspronklike Medal of Honor -aansoek herwerk.

'Ek was mal daaroor om hieraan te werk - dit is baie verblydend om te sien hoe dit werklik gebeur na jare se harde werk deur soveel mense,' het Wekselbaum aan NBC News gesê.

Die weermag het bevestig dat nuwe inligting wat gebruik is om die toekenning van Johnson goed te keur, strydverslae van sy kollegas insluit.

"Na 'n formele hersiening is vasgestel dat optrede van sers. Henry Johnson goedkeuring vereis," het Wayne Hall, woordvoerder van die weermag, aan NBC News gesê.

Johnson se verhaal het onlangs meer bekend geword.

In die 1990's het Albany 'n monument opgerig om Johnson te vereer. Die borsbeeld is in 'n sirkel op die kruising van Henry Johnson Boulevard en Willettstraat geplaas.

President Bill Clinton het Johnson postuum 'n pers hart toegeken, en die verhaal van die 'Harlem Hellfighters' is 'n grafiese roman.

Johnson se seun, Herman Johnson, wat tydens die Tweede Wêreldoorlog as deel van die geheel-swart Tuskegee Airmen gevlieg het, was volgens die Smithsonian opgewonde toe hy verneem dat sy pa met volle eer in die Arlington National Cemetery begrawe is. Herman Johnson is in 2004 oorlede.

'Dit het jare se omvattende navorsing geverg om sy bewering te bewys, die hartstogtelike voorspraak van plaaslike historici en sy verhoudings, en wetgewing wat deur beide huise van die kongres uitgevaardig is om afstand te doen van die verjaring van sy toekenning om dit te doen, maar die moeite het uiteindelik betaal af, ”het Schumer in 'n verklaring gesê. "Dit sal een van my trotsste prestasies as senator wees om die hoogste militêre eer van ons land aan Henry Johnson te sien."


Uitgawe 19: Ere -ontvangers en genealogie

Die Medal of Honor is die mees gesogte militêre toekenning van die Verenigde State, toegeken aan diegene wat buitengewone dapperheid in die diens bewys het. Volgens die Congressional Medal of Honor Society het 127 ontvangers die Medal of Honor ontvang vir hul optrede in die Eerste Wêreldoorlog, waarvan 33 postuum toegeken is. Vanweë hul ras is 'n aantal WWI -soldate egter oor die hoof gesien vir die toekenning. Na byna 'n eeu kry hierdie helde uiteindelik die erkenning wat hulle verdien.

In hierdie uitgawe leer ons oor die geskiedenis van die Medal of Honor en wat dit vandag beteken. Ons kyk ook na beskikbare bronne vir genealogiese navorsing, sodat studente hul eie gesinsverbindings met die Eerste Wêreldoorlog kan vind.

Ontmoet Amerika se dapperste helde — Eerste Wêreldoorlog

Congressional Medal of Honor Foundation

Die Medal of Honor is die hoogste Amerikaanse militêre eer wat 'n mens kan ontvang. Die Congressional Medal of Honor Foundation bied besonderhede van diens, rang, afdeling en aanhalings vir WWI -ontvangers.

Aanbevole graadvlakke: Laerskool, hoërskool, kollege, volwassenes Formaat: Aanlyn databasis

WWI -held Henry Johnson ontvang uiteindelik 'n erepenning

Artikel deur Sarah Pruitt

Alhoewel Henry Johnson beskou is as een van die dapperste Amerikaners om in die Eerste Wêreldoorlog te veg, was dit vanweë blywende rassisme in die VSA eers in 2004 dat hy die Medal of Honor ontvang het. Hierdie artikel van HISTORY® vertel sy verhaal van soldaat tot postume Medal of Honor -ontvanger.

Aanbevole graadvlakke: Laerskool, hoërskool Formaat: Aanlynartikel

Rassisme het sommige WWI -troepe weerhou om ere -medalje te ontvang, sê wetgewers

Artikel deur Richard Sisk

'N Tweeparty -poging vra 'n hersiening van Afro -Amerikaanse troepe in die Eerste Wêreldoorlog om te bepaal of hulle met die erepenning toegeken moet word. Hierdie artikel van Military.com in 2019 beskryf pogings om 'n eeu se rassisme aan te spreek.

Aanbevole graadvlakke: Laerskool, hoërskool, kollege, volwassenes Formaat: Aanlynartikel,

Twee WWI -soldate ontvang postuum van ere -medalje

'N Eeu na hul diens ontvang twee soldate, een Afro -Amerikaner en die ander Joodse, postuum van ere. Hierdie segment uit 'n 2015 -episode van PBS NewsHour verken hul toekennings.

Aanbevole graadvlakke: alle vlakke Formaat: YouTube -video (5 minute)

'Nadat sy peloton groot ongevalle gely het en drie ander onderoffisiere slagoffers geword het, het kpl. York het bevel oorgeneem. Vreesloos lei hy sewe mans en beskuldig van groot gewaagdheid 'n masjiengeweernes wat dodelike en onophoudelike vuur op sy peloton gooi. In sy heldhaftige prestasie is die masjiengeweernes geneem, saam met vier offisiere en 128 mans en verskeie gewere. ”

- Aanhaling vir Medal of Honor -ontvanger sersant Alvin York.
Kom meer te wete oor sersant York se lewe.

John Lewis Barkley was 'n ontvanger van die Amerikaanse weermag in die Eerste Wêreldoorlog. Hy is in 1918 na Frankryk en neem deel aan die Meuse-Argonne-offensief, die grootste Amerikaanse offensief in die Amerikaanse militêre geskiedenis.

Op 7 Oktober het Barkley 'n gevange Duitse masjiengeweer op 'n tenk gemonteer en dit deur Duitse artilleriebakke beman, sodat sy regiment sy missie kon behou. Hy is later bekroon met die Medal of Honor vir sy dapperheid en vindingrykheid. Vandag vertoon die National WWI Museum and Memorial Barkley's Medal of Honor en portret op uitstalling.

Bekyk briewe, foto's en meer primêre brondokumente uit sy persoonlike versameling.

WWI Genealogiese navorsingshulpbronne

Die eeufeeskommissie van die Eerste Wêreldoorlog van die Verenigde State hou hierdie lys van genealogiese hulpbronne by, wat gebruikers die geleentheid bied om hul eie familiegeskiedenis van die Eerste Wêreldoorlog te soek.


Swart en Joodse WWI -helde kry uiteindelik Medal of Honor

WASHINGTON - President Barack Obama het verklaar dat dit nooit te laat was om dinge reg te stel nie, en het postuum die Medal of Honor aan twee veterane uit die Eerste Wêreldoorlog toegeken wie se heroïese dade byna 100 jaar gelede in 'n tydperk van diskriminasie onherkenbaar was.

Sgt. William Shemin en Pvt. Henry Johnson is erken met die hoogste militêre versiering van die land omdat hy hul kamerade op die Franse frontlinie gered het. Shemin was Joods en Johnson swart.

Dit het lank geneem voordat Henry Johnson en William Shemin die erkenning gekry het wat hulle verdien, en daar is sekerlik ander wie se heroïsme steeds onbekend en sonder viering is, en Obama het gesê.

“ Die minste wat ons kan doen, is om te sê dat ons weet wie u is, ons weet wat u vir ons gedoen het, ons is ewig dankbaar, en hy het gesê.

Obama het die onvermoeide pogings van hul advokate toegejuig, wat daartoe gelei het dat die Kongres 'n vrystelling van Medal of Honor -reëls moes aanvaar wat spesifiseer dat heroïese optrede binne vyf jaar moes plaasvind om oorweeg te word.

Die dogters van Shemin was vol emosie toe Obama die stervormige medalje aan 'n blou sylint aan hulle oorhandig het, wat volgens hulle lankal hul vader ontken is weens antisemitisme. Ina Bass (83) stoot die gehoor duim op en plaas 'n soen op die president se wang, terwyl die 86-jarige Elsie Shemin-Roth deur haar trane glimlag.

Veterane van die Johnson ’s New York National Guard -regiment, die 369ste bekend as “Harlem Hellfighters, ” het stoïs gekyk hoe Obama beskryf hoe hy arm in sy vroeë 30's sterf nadat sy beserings hom lamgelê het en nie in staat was om te werk nie.

“ Amerika kan nie verander wat met Henry Johnson gebeur het nie, en Obama het gesê. Ons kan nie verander wat met te veel soldate soos hy gebeur het nie, wat ongevierd was omdat ons nasie hulle beoordeel het volgens die kleur van hul vel en nie die inhoud van hul karakter nie. Maar ons kan ons bes doen om dit reg te stel. ”

Obama het beskryf hoe Johnson en 'n medesoldaat aangeval is deur ten minste 'n dosyn Duitse soldate terwyl hulle op nagwag was op 15 Mei 1918. Albei is beseer, maar Johnson het die indringerparty op sy eie teruggeslaan en sy bewustelose broer in die arms gered , gewapen met net sy Bolo -mes nadat sy geweer vasgekeer het.

Obama het gesê dat Johnson bekend geword het - tydens 'n oorwinningsparade in Fifth Avenue, sy prentjie op werfplakkate gedruk en president Teddy Roosevelt skryf dat hy een van die dapperste manne in die oorlog was. Die Franse, wat sy eenheid beveel het omdat die Amerikaanse weermag destyds geskei was, het hom die hoogste toekenning vir dapperheid in die land gegee. 'N Standbeeld van Johnson word in sy tuisdorp Albany, N.Y.

Maar sy eie nasie het hom niks toegeken nie, selfs nie die Purple Heart nie, al was hy 21 keer gewond. Niks vir sy dapperheid nie, alhoewel hy 'n medesoldaat met groot risiko vir homself gered het, het Obama gesê voordat hy die toekenning aan die New York National Guard Command Sgt. Majoor Louis Wilson.

Obama het gesê dat dit ook te lank geneem het vir Amerika om Shemin, wat 19 was toe hy op 7 Augustus 1918 in 'n bloedige geveg aan die westelike front begin het, te eer. Shemin het in die loop van drie dae herhaaldelik gejaag. deur swaar masjiengeweervuur ​​om gevalle kamerade te red. Uiteindelik breek die leierskap van die peloton af. Te veel beamptes het slagoffers geword. Dus stap William op en neem bevel, ” Obama het gesê.

'N Duitse koeël steek sy helm deur en sit agter sy linkeroor. Shemin is drie maande lank in die hospitaal opgeneem en is gedeeltelik doof gelaat. Skrapnelwonde het hom uiteindelik skaars laat loop, alhoewel hy 'n graad aan die Universiteit van Syracuse behaal het en voor sy dood in 1973 'n kwekerybedryf in die Bronx bedryf het.

Sersant Shemin het gedien in 'n tyd toe die bydraes in die heldhaftigheid van Joodse Amerikaners in uniform te dikwels oor die hoof gesien is, ” het Obama gesê. Maar William Shemin het Amerikaanse lewens gered. Hy het ons volk met eer verteenwoordig. En dit is my voorreg namens die Amerikaanse volk om dit reg te maak. ”


Swart en Joodse WWI -helde kry uiteindelik Medal of Honor

/> LêER - In hierdie lêerfoto van 5 Januarie 2012 blaai Elsie Shemin -Roth deur 'n boek waarin die heldhaftige dade van haar pa, William Shemin, tydens die Eerste Wêreldoorlog, by haar huis in Labadie, Mo. I Army helde, Shemin en Pvt. Henry Johnson kry uiteindelik die Medal of Honor wat moontlik geweier is weens diskriminasie, byna 100 jaar nadat hy kameraadjies op die slagvelde van Frankryk dapper gered het. President Barack Obama beplan om postuum die hoogste militêre eer van die land aan albei mans toe te ken vir hul optrede in 1918 tydens 'n seremonie in die Withuis op Dinsdag 2 Junie 2015. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson, File)

WASHINGTON — Two World War I Army heroes — one black, one Jewish — are finally getting the Medal of Honor they may have been denied because of discrimination, nearly 100 years after bravely rescuing comrades on the battlefields of France.

Sers. William Shemin repeatedly dodged gunfire to pull wounded comrades to safety during three days of bloody battle. And Pvt. Henry Johnson rescued a wounded comrade from his all-black regiment while single-handedly fighting off a surprise German attack.

President Obama plans to posthumously bestow the nation's highest military honor on both men for their actions in 1918 during a White House ceremony Tuesday. The award comes after efforts by advocates for the two men led Congress to pass an exemption from Medal of Honor rules specifying that heroic actions have to have taken place within five years to be considered.

Shemin's daughter, Elsie Shemin-Roth of suburban St. Louis, worked for years to gather documents in support of the bid for her father and plans to accept the award from Obama on his behalf. In the early 2000s, she learned of a law that reviewed cases of Jews who may have been denied medals they earned in World War II and fought for passage of a law to provide similar review for Jewish World War I veterans.

"This was anti-Semitism, no question about it," Shemin-Roth, who is in her 80s, said in an interview in December when Congress passed the exemption for her father, who died in 1973. "Now a wrong has been made right and all is forgiven."

Johnson supporters pushed for the Medal of Honor for decades — with New York Sen. Chuck Schumer taking up the case, which was initially rebuffed for lack of documentation. His staff picked up the case again years later when a trove of military records became available online, including a communique from Gen. John Pershing describing Johnson's brave acts after coming under attack by at least 12 German soldiers while on night sentry duty on May 15, 1918.

"While under intense enemy fire and despite receiving significant wounds, Johnson mounted a brave retaliation resulting in several enemy casualties," the White House said in a statement. "When his fellow soldier was badly wounded, Private Johnson prevented him from being taken prisoner by German forces. Private Johnson exposed himself to grave danger by advancing from his position to engage an enemy soldier in hand-to-hand combat. Displaying great courage, Private Johnson held back the enemy force until they retreated."


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Sers. Henry Johnson of the 369th Infantry Regiment was awarded France's highest award for valor. Now he will posthumously received the Medal of Honor.

Johnson joined the Army on June 5, 1917. He was assigned to C Company, 15th New York (Colored) Infantry Regiment, an all-black National Guard unit that would later become the 369th Infantry Regiment.

The unit was ordered into battle in 1918, and Johnson and his unit were brigaded with a French Army colonial unit in front-line combat.

Johnson will be honored with the Medal of Honor for his actions on May 15, 1918, near the Tourbe and Aisne Rivers, northwest of Saint Menehoul, France.

According to information from the White House, Johnson and a fellow soldier were on night sentry duty when they were attacked by a German raiding party of at least 12 soldiers.

While under intense enemy fire and despite receiving significant wounds, Johnson mounted a brave retaliation resulting in several enemy casualties. When his fellow soldier was badly wounded, Johnson prevented him from being taken prisoner by German forces.

Johnson exposed himself to grave danger by advancing from his position to engage an enemy soldier in hand-to-hand combat. He held back the enemy force until they retreated.

For his valor, Johnson became one of the first Americans to be awarded the French Croix de Guerre avec Palme, France's highest award for valor.

When Johnson returned home to his adopted state of New York after his tour of duty, he was unable to return to his pre-war job as a redcap porter at Albany's Union Station because of the severity of his combat injuries.

He died in July 1929 and is buried at Arlington National Cemetery.

Johnson was posthumously awarded the Purple Heart in 1996 and the Distinguished Service Cross in 2002.

Command Sgt. Maj. Louis Wilson, of the New York National Guard, will accept the Medal of Honor on Johnson's behalf.


Our View: Honor WWI hero, 95 years late

A statue of Henry Johnson is displayed in the Arbor Hill neighborhood in Albany. The secretary of defense has recommended awarding a posthumous Medal of Honor to the black soldier from upstate New York who saved a comrade while fighting off a German attack in France during World War I. (Photo: AP/Mike Groll)

Sers. Henry Johnson could, nearly a century after he sustained injuries amid acts of heroism in the Great War, finally receive the Medal of Honor, the highest military award.

It is an honor our nation owes to the half-million black troops who fought for this country in World War I without the benefit of equal treatment at home, to the memory of Johnson and to our own legacy.

"Johnson should have received this recognition 95 years ago, and providing an exemption for him now is the right thing to do," Sen. Charles Schumer, D-New York, said Tuesday. Schumer has shepherded legislation that waives the five-year statute of limitations Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel has recommended the posthumous award. The next step is up to President Barack Obama, who should quickly agree to honor a man who risked everything for a nation that all but denied his service, and champion a full review of others who history has forgotten.

The effort to ensure the nation properly paid tribute to Johnson's dedication and bravery started long ago.

In 1988, then-Rep. Joe DioGuardi, a conservative Republican whose district included parts of Ossining, New Rochelle, Yonkers and Mount Vernon, introduced similar legislation to put Johnson and World War II Seaman Dorie Miller on the track to receive the Medal of Honor. He worked for years on the issue with Rep. Mickey Leland of Texas, a Democrat who was head of the Congressional Black Caucus. (Leland died in a plane crash in 1989, during a humanitarian trip to Ethiopia.)

At the time, the Department of the Army and Department of the Navy opposed such action.

DioGuardi, in an interview Wednesday with the Editorial Board, recounted how he came to realize that of the half-million black men who served in World War I and million African-Americans in World War II, not a single one had received the nation's highest honor, though tales of legendary heroism abound. He first heard about how the country had overlooked Johnson and other war heroes from Leroy L. Ramsey, who worked for the state Department of Education on integrating Mount Vernon schools. As a New Yorker, DioGuardi said he was mystified by segregation and racism in the armed services.

In 1991, World War I Cpl. Freddie Stowers was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for his valor, after a Defense Department review advocated by Leland, DioGuardi and others. At that time, it felt like honors for Johnson and Miller were just around the corner.

Fix history's mistakes

Miller's story — as a cook-turned-gunner at Pearl Harbor — is well-known.

Amid the surprise attack on Pearl Harbor, Miller, assigned to the mess, dragged his mortally wounded captain off the deck, then manned a ship machine gun though he had never fired the gun before, he shot down four Japanese planes before running out of ammunition. He later died in battle at sea in 1943. A Navy ship was named after him the U.S. Postal Service issued a stamp in his honor he's been portrayed in movies. Yet, he still has not been granted a much-deserved Medal of Honor.

Johnson, of Albany, was part of the all-black "Harlem Hellfighters." As part of the New York National Guard, he served under French command due to segregation. In 1918, he and a fellow soldier were on patrol in France when they were ambushed by German soldiers. They were severely outnumbered, and both sustained injuries. Johnson fought off the attackers and got his comrade to safety.

Johnson was awarded the Croix de Guerre, France's highest military medal. In 2003, he was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross, the nation's second-highest military honor.

Johnson returned to Albany after the war. In 1929, he died at age 32 and was buried in Arlington National Cemetery.

Johnson has no surviving relatives. Still, his memory and his heroism should not be forgotten or discounted. A Medal of Honor for Johnson and Miller are more than deserved. Decades later, we still need a full accounting of the heroism displayed by black troops who served their nation, even as they were deemed second-class citizens at home.

The Medal of Honor for our forgotten heroes would acknowledge their sacrifice, and help salve our nation's scars of racism and disenfranchisement, which continue to hurt us all.


WWI Hero Sgt. Henry Johnson Receives Long Overdue Medal of Honor

Almost a century after their service, Sgt. Henry Johnson* and Sgt. William Shemin were finally awarded the Medal of Honor at a White House ceremony for their heroics in World War I. Both had been overlooked previously, though Johnson, an African American, was one of the first Americans to receive the Croix de Guerre avec Palme from the French government.

A fair bit of information about both soldiers can be found online, and while their bravery is beyond dispute, personal details about Sgt. Shemin are mostly accurate, while Sgt. Johnson’s are frequently distorted. As the genealogist who had the privilege of researching both of these Medal of Honor cases for the Army, I had the opportunity to seek out and steep myself in more than 1,300 pages of Sgt. Johnson’s paper trail, so I’d like to clarify some misconceptions.

  • His full name was William Henry Johnson, but Sgt. Johnson preferred to go by his middle name of Henry and only occasionally used his full name for formal purposes, such as when he married. This is why, for instance, newspaper reports of his death can be found under both the names of Henry Johnson and William Henry Johnson.

  • As seen here in his death certificate, Sgt. Johnson died on July 1, 1929 in Washington, D.C. and was buried in Arlington National Cemetery. Assertions that he died elsewhere (such as New York or Illinois) or on other dates are probably due to confusion with records of other soldiers with similar names.

  • He was born in West Salem, a district of Winston-Salem, North Carolina. The notion that he was born in Alexandria, Virginia likely stems from his profile in the book Rank and File: True Stories of the Great War by Theodore Roosevelt, Jr., but is mistaken. Documents such as his World War I draft registration card demonstrate that Sgt. Johnson himself consistently reported West(ern) Salem/Winston-Salem as his place of birth.

(New York Abstract of WWI Military Service, Ancestry)

  • Sers. Johnson was born between 1887 and 1897. Such a range may sound strange to 21st century ears, but accuracy and consistency in dates is a relatively recent development, as is our emphasis on birthdays. In all likelihood, the soldier did not know his own date of birth, and his lack of certainty is reflected in his paper trail, though he mostly claimed March 15th or May 15th of various years.
  • A close examination of his death certificate (above) will also reveal that Sgt. Johnson did not die from alcoholism as some claim. He suffered a number of conditions that worsened through the 1920s, but ultimately died from myocarditis.
  • Nor is it true that he was neglected by the government. The article below, published on May 22, 1920, reveals that he was hospitalized at Walter Reed, and additional records show him receiving disability compensation and care at home and several medical facilities over the last decade of his life.

  • Though he regrettably has no known living relatives, Sgt. Johnson’s courageous service was not entirely forgotten until now. In addition to the many who have campaigned vigorously on his behalf for the Medal of Honor since the 1990s, his admirers included Langston Hughes and fellow Medal of Honor recipient Theodore Roosevelt, Jr., who aptly described him as “one of the five bravest Americans” to serve in the war.

* While it is customary in award situations to use the rank of the soldier at the time of the relevant incident, I have opted to refer to Henry Johnson by his highest attained rank.

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2 Comments

Your research concerning Henry Johnson is spot on. After reading the article after the awarding of the Congressional Medal of Honor to him, I did some of my own research, and found exactly what you did, using ancestry.com, fold3, and newspapers.com. From newspapers.com I read articles, most of which inaccurately identified him as Henry Lincoln Johnson. I also found that he was identified as Henry Lincoln Johnson on Find A Grave, and contacted them twice via email, letting them know that Henry Johnson was never reflected as his name on official government records or correspondence, only in newspaper articles. I was completely rejected once, and ignored the second time when I sent a detailed correspondence via email to another of their email addresses. What surprised me more, was that Find A Grave is bought by Ancestry.com, which should be trying to provide accurate information to those doing research. Well, the bottom line is, if I couldn’t get Find A Grave, i.e. Ancestry.com to correct the error that they are perpetuating, maybe you can. Anyway, thanks for your research, and best regards.

I uncovered over 1,300 pages of documents about this soldier, but it’s an uphill battle convincing others that they’ve got it wrong. If you think the fact that FindaGrave won’t correct it is maddening, try looking at his Wikipedia page which some have tried to get updated. I find it very frustrating that (Wm) Henry Johnson is still out there under a fictional bio. He earned the Medal of Honor and we can’t even get his name right, much less all his other specifics. Thanks very much for your efforts. Maybe we’ll eventually make some progress on this front.


Two WWI Heroes Will Finally Be Awarded The Medal of Honor They Deserved

Finally, after almost a century since their brave feats during the First World War, two WWI heroes – Army Sergeant William Shemin and Army Private Henry Johnson – are to get the highest military honor they so long deserved — the Medal of Honor.

President Barack Obama will posthumously give the said military honor to these two WWI heroes in an awards ceremony set to take place on June 2.

Both the WWI heroes displayed extraordinary bravery while engaged in battle in France during the Great War. Army Sergeant Shemin, who was a Jew, ran through a raging battlefield thrice so that he could pull back his wounded comrades to safety. Meanwhile, Army Private Johnson fought off a German attack just so he could rescue a fellow member of his all-black regiment during the said conflict.

Campaigns for the awarding of the Medal of Honor to these two WWI heroes – who both hailed from New York – had been a long and arduous process. Their actions long merited the recognition but they may have been overlooked because of discrimination.

The Medal of Honor is awarded to Armed Forces members who display distinct gallantry.

Army Sergeant William Shemin

Johnson was born in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, and moved to New York as a teenager. He enlisted in the Army, June 5, 1917, and was assigned to Company C, 15th New York (Colored) Infantry Regiment – an all-black National Guard unit, which would later become the 369th Infantry Regiment.

Known as the Harlem Hellfighters, the 369th Infantry Regiment, 93rd Division, was ordered to the front lines in 1918. Johnson and his unit were attached to a French army command in the vicinity of the Tourbe and Aisne Rivers, northwest of Saint Menehoul, France.

While on night sentry duty, May 15, 1918, Johnson and a fellow Soldier, Pvt. Needham Roberts, received a surprise attack by a German raiding party of at least 12 enemy soldiers.

While under intense fire and despite his own wounds, Johnson kept an injured Needham from being taken prisoner. He came forward from his position to engage an enemy soldier in hand-to-hand combat. Wielding only a knife and gravely wounded, Johnson continued fighting until the enemy retreated.

For his valor, Johnson became one of the first Americans to be awarded the French Croix de Guerre avec Palme, France’s highest award for valor.

Johnson was posthumously awarded the Purple Heart in 1996. He was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross in 2002, with the official ceremony taking place in 2003.

Johnson died in 1929 and is buried at Arlington National Cemetery, Virginia. He will be the second black Soldier to receive the Medal of Honor for actions in World War I. The first was Cpl. Freddie Stowers.

Since Johnson has no next of kin, Command Sgt. Maj. Louis Wilson, of the New York National Guard, is to attend the White House ceremony and accept the Medal of Honor on Johnson’s behalf. (army.mil)

Army Private Henry Johnson

Shemin was born in Bayonne, New Jersey, Oct. 14, 1896. He graduated from the New York State Ranger School in 1914, and went on to work as a forester in Bayonne.

Shemin enlisted in the Army, Oct. 2, 1917. Upon completion of basic training at Camp Greene, North Carolina, he was assigned as a rifleman to Company G, 47th Infantry Regiment, 4th Infantry Division, American Expeditionary Forces, in France.

While serving as a rifleman during the Aisne-Marne Offensive, Aug. 7-9, 1918, he left the cover of his platoon’s trench and crossed open space, repeatedly exposing himself to heavy machine gun and rifle fire to rescue the wounded.

After officers and senior noncommissioned officers had become casualties, Shemin took command of the platoon until he was wounded by shrapnel and a machine-gun bullet, which pierced his helmet and lodged behind his left ear.

He was hospitalized for three months and then received light duty as part of the Army occupation in Germany and Belgium.

For his injuries, he received the Purple Heart and he was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross, Dec. 29, 1919.

Shemin was honorably discharged in August 1919, and went on to receive a degree from the New York State College of Forestry at Syracuse University. After graduation, he started a greenhouse and landscaping business in Bronx, New York, where he raised three children.


Inhoud

Johnson said that he was born in Winston-Salem, North Carolina on July 15, 1892 when he registered for the World War I draft, but used other dates on other documents and may not have known the exact date of his birth. [1] [6] [7] He moved to Albany, New York when he was in his early teens and worked as a redcap porter at the Albany Union Station on Broadway. [1] [7]

Johnson enlisted in the United States Military on June 5, 1917, joining the all-black New York National Guard 15th Infantry Regiment, which, when mustered into Federal service, was redesignated as the 369th Infantry Regiment based in Harlem.

The 369th Infantry joined the 185th Infantry Brigade upon arrival in France, but was relegated to labor service duties instead of combat training. The 185th Infantry Brigade was in turn assigned on January 5, 1918, to the 93rd Infantry Division.

Although General John J. Pershing wished to keep the U.S. Army autonomous, he "loaned" the 369th to the 161st Division of the French Army. Supposedly, the unreported and unofficial reason he was willing to detach the African-American regiments from U.S. command was that vocal white U.S. soldiers refused to fight alongside black troops. These regiments suffered considerable harassment by white U.S. soldiers and even denigration by the American Expeditionary Force headquarters, which went so far as to release the notorious pamphlet Secret Information Concerning Black American Troops, which "warned" French civilian authorities of the alleged inferior nature and supposed tendencies of African-American troops to commit sexual assaults. [3] Johnson arrived in France on New Year's Day, 1918.

The French Army and people had no such problem and were happy about and welcoming to the reinforcements. [8] The 369th Infantry regiment, later nicknamed the "Harlem Hellfighters", was among the first to arrive in France, and among the most highly decorated when it returned. The 369th was an all-black unit under the command of mostly white officers, including their commander, Colonel William Hayward. The idea of a black New York National Guard regiment had first been put forward by Charles W. Fillmore, a black New Yorker. Governor Charles Seymour Whitman, inspired by the brave showing of the black 10th Cavalry in Mexico, authorized the project. He appointed Colonel Hayward to carry out the task of organizing the unit, and Hayward gave Fillmore a commission as a captain in the 15th Infantry Regiment, New York National Guard. The 15th New York Infantry Regiment became the 369th United States Infantry Regiment prior to engaging in combat in France.

The 369th got off to a rocky departure from the United States, making three attempts over a period of months to sail for France before finally getting out of sight of land. Even then, their transport, which had stopped and anchored before it could get out of the harbor due to a sudden snowstorm, was struck by another ship due to poor visibility. The captain of the transport, the Pocahontas, wanted to turn back, much to the dismay of his passengers. The by-now angry and impatient members of the 369th, led by Hayward, took a very dim view of any further delay. Since damage to the ship was well above the waterline, the ship's captain admitted that there was no danger of sinking. Hayward then informed the captain that he saw no reason to turn back, aside from cowardice. Hayward's men repaired the damage themselves and the ship sailed on. According to Hayward's notes, they "landed at Brest. Right side up" on December 27, 1917. They acquitted themselves well once they finally got to France. However, some time passed before they saw combat.

The French Army assigned Johnson's regiment to Outpost 20 on the edge of the Argonne Forest in the Champagne region of France, equipping it with French rifles and helmets. [9] While on observation post duty on the night of May 14, 1918, Johnson came under attack by a large German raiding party, which may have numbered up to 36 soldiers. Using grenades, the butt of his rifle, a bolo knife and his bare fists, Johnson repelled the Germans, killing four while wounding others, rescuing Needham Roberts from capture and saving the lives of his fellow soldiers. Johnson suffered 21 wounds during the ordeal. [3] [9] This act of valor earned him the nickname of "Black Death", as a sign of respect for his prowess in combat.

The story of Johnson's exploits first came to national attention in an article by Irvin S. Cobb entitled "Young Black Joe" published in the August 24, 1918 Saterdagaand Pos. [10]

Returning home, now-Sergeant Johnson participated (with his regiment) in a victory parade on Fifth Avenue in New York City in February 1919. [11] Johnson was then paid to take part in a series of lecture tours. He appeared one evening in St. Louis, and instead of delivering the expected tale of racial harmony in the trenches, revealed the abuse that black soldiers had suffered, such as white soldiers refusing to share trenches with blacks. Soon afterwards, a warrant was issued for Johnson's arrest for wearing his uniform beyond the prescribed date of his commission and paid lecturing engagements dried up. [12]

The French government awarded Johnson the Croix de guerre with a special citation and a golden palm. [3] He was the first American to receive the award. [3] [13]

In June 1996, Johnson was posthumously awarded the Purple Heart by President Bill Clinton. In February 2003, the Distinguished Service Cross, the Army's second highest award, was presented to Herman A. Johnson, one of the Tuskegee Airmen [14] John Howe, a Vietnam War veteran who had campaigned tirelessly for recognition for Johnson, and U.S. Army Major General Nathaniel James, President of the 369th Veterans' Association, were present at the ceremony in Albany. [15] At the time, Herman Johnson mistakenly believed he was the son of Henry Johnson. [16]

Medal of Honor Edit

On May 14, 2015, the White House announced that Johnson would receive the Medal of Honor posthumously, presented by President Barack Obama. [17] In the June 2 ceremony, Johnson's medal was received on his behalf by Command Sergeant Major Louis Wilson of the New York National Guard. Obama said, "The least we can do is to say, 'We know who you are, we know what you did for us. We are forever grateful.'" [18]

The official citation reads: [19]

The President of the United States of America, authorized by Act of Congress, March 3, 1863, has awarded in the name of Congress the Medal of Honor to

Private Henry Johnson

United States Army

For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty:

Private Johnson distinguished himself by acts of gallantry and intrepidity above and beyond the call of duty while serving as a member of Company C, 369th Infantry Regiment, 93rd Division, American Expeditionary Forces, during combat operations against the enemy on the front lines of the Western Front in France on May 15, 1918. Private Johnson and another soldier were on sentry duty at a forward outpost when they received a surprise attack from a German raiding party consisting of at least 12 soldiers. While under intense enemy fire and despite receiving significant wounds, Private Johnson mounted a brave retaliation, resulting in several enemy casualties. When his fellow soldier was badly wounded, Private Johnson prevented him from being taken prisoner by German forces. Private Johnson exposed himself to grave danger by advancing from his position to engage an enemy soldier in hand-to-hand combat. Wielding only a knife and gravely wounded himself, Private Johnson continued fighting and took his Bolo knife and stabbed it through an enemy soldier's head. Displaying great courage, Private Johnson held back the enemy force until they retreated. Private Johnson's extraordinary heroism and selflessness above and beyond the call of duty are in keeping with the highest traditions of military service and reflect great credit upon himself, his unit and the United States Army.

Veterans Bureau records show that a "permanent and total disability" rating was granted to Johnson on September 16, 1927, as a result of his tuberculosis. Additional Veterans Bureau records refer to Johnson receiving monthly compensation and regular visits by Veterans Bureau medical personnel until his death. [20]

Johnson died on July 1, 1929, in Washington, D.C., of myocarditis. [21] He was buried at Arlington National Cemetery on July 6, 1929.

In 1919, co-founder of the American Legion Theodore Roosevelt, Jr., son of former United States President Theodore Roosevelt, referred to Johnson as one of the "five bravest Americans" to have served in World War I. [11]

Interest in obtaining fitting recognition for Johnson grew during the 1970s and 1980s. In November 1991, a monument was erected in Albany, New York's Washington Park in his honor, and a section of Northern Boulevard was renamed Henry Johnson Boulevard.

In December 2004, the Postal facility at 747 Broadway was renamed the "United States Postal Service Henry Johnson Annex".

On September 4, 2007, the Brighter Choice Foundation in Albany, New York, dedicated the Henry Johnson Charter School, with Johnson's granddaughter in attendance.

A 1918 commercial poster honoring Johnson's wartime heroics was the subject of a 2012 episode of the PBS television series Geskiedenis speurders. [22]

As of December 3, 2014, the national defense bill included a provision, added by Senator Chuck Schumer, to award Johnson the Medal of Honor. [23]

For many years, it was thought that Herman Archibald Johnson was the son of Henry Johnson. In tracking Henry Johnson's genealogy prior to his being awarded the Medal of Honor, however, it was discovered that there was no family connection. [6] [24] The Army was quoted as saying, "While we appreciate the Johnson family fighting for the award and keeping the memory and valorous acts of Henry Johnson alive, we regretfully cannot recognize them as PNOK," or primary next of kin. [20]

In December 2014, the City School District of Albany established a Junior Reserve officers' Training Program (JROTC) at Albany High School named the Henry Johnson Battalion in honor of him. [25] The program currently enrolls over 100 cadets.

In 2017, Albany-area PBS station WMHT aired a documentary about Henry Johnson entitled "Henry Johnson: A Tale of Courage."

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