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First Name: Alexander

Last Name: Nininger

Birthplace: Gainesville, GA, USA

Gender: Male

Branch: Army (1784 - present)

Home of Record: West Point, NY
Middle Name: Ramsey

Date of Birth: 20 October 1918

Date of Death: 12 January 1942

Rank: Second Lieutenant

Years Served: 1941 - 1942
Alexander Ramsey Nininger

•  World War II (1941 - 1945)


Alexander Ramsey 'Sandy' Nininger

Second Lieutenant, U.S. Army

Medal of Honor Recipient

World War II

Second Lieutenant Alexander Ramsey 'Sandy' Nininger Jr. (20 October 1918 - 12 January 1942) was a U.S. Army officer attached to the Philippine Scouts who was posthumously awarded the U.S. military's highest award for valor, the Medal of Honor, during World War II.

Alexander Ramsey Nininger Jr., nicknamed "Sandy," was born on 20 October 1918 in Gainesville, GA. He attended the U.S. Military Academy and graduated in May 1941. After being commissioned a Second Lieutenant, he was sent to the Philippines and was attached to the 57th Infantry Regiment of the Philippine Scouts. After entering active service, according to Malcolm Gladwell, Nininger "wrote a friend to say that he had no feelings of hate, and did not think he could ever kill anyone out of hatred. He had none of the swagger of the natural warrior. He worked hard and had a strong sense of duty." A little known fact about Alexander Nininger is that he loved to draw pictures.

During the first month of the Japanese invasion of the Philippines, Nininger's unit helped prepare American defenses in Bataan. After the Japanese launched their assault on Bataan, Nininger voluntarily joined another company because his unit was not yet engaged in combat.

Nininger was killed in action near Abucay, Bataan, on 12 January 1942, just short of his 24th birthday. He was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for leading an assault on Japanese positions. He was the first U.S. Army soldier to be so honored in the Second World War.

Medal of Honor

Rank and organization: Second Lieutenant, U.S. Army, 57th Infantry, Philippine Scouts.

Place and date: Near Abucay, Bataan, Philippine Islands, 12 January 1942.

Citation: For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity above and beyond the call of duty in action with the enemy near Abucay, Bataan, Philippine Islands, on 12 January 1942. This officer, though assigned to another company not then engaged in combat, voluntarily attached himself to Company K, same regiment, while that unit was being attacked by enemy force superior in firepower. Enemy snipers in trees and foxholes had stopped a counterattack to regain part of position. In hand-to-hand fighting which followed, 2d Lt. Nininger repeatedly forced his way to and into the hostile position. Though exposed to heavy enemy fire, he continued to attack with rifle and hand grenades and succeeded in destroying several enemy groups in foxholes and enemy snipers. Although wounded 3 times, he continued his attacks until he was killed after pushing alone far within the enemy position. When his body was found after recapture of the position, 1 enemy officer and 2 enemy soldiers lay dead around him.


The First Division of Cadet Barracks at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point is named in his honor. Nininger was the first U.S. soldier to receive the Medal of Honor in World War II.

In 2006 an award was created in his honor by the Association of Graduates of the U.S. Military Academy: The Alexander R. Nininger Award for Valor at Arms. It is given to West Point graduates who have displayed courage in combat and upheld the values of West Point. The first awardee was Major Ryan L. Worthan.

Two transport ships were named in honor of Nininger: T-APC-117 was launched as Alexander R. Nininger, Jr., (but ultimately renamed for another Medal of Honor recipient). The second was a Victory ship that was named USAT Lt. Alexander R. Nininger.

His home town of Ft. Lauderdale, FL, also erected a statue in his honor.

Alexander "Sandy" Nininger State Veterans' Nursing Home is in Pembroke Pines, FL, near Ft. Lauderdale.

A rifle range at the Infantry School, Fort Benning, GA, "Nininger Range" is named in remembrance of Alexander Nininger.

As a high school student, Nininger was a member of the Key Club and annually that organization awards the "Sandy Nininger Medal" to high school seniors throughout America who exemplify his character.

Death and Burial

Second Lieutenant Alexander Ramsey 'Sandy' Nininger Jr. was killed in action on 12 January 1942. He is buried at Saint Dominic Parish Church Cemetery in Abucay, Bataan, Bataan Province, Philippines, in Grave 9.

A memorial headstone for him is located at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, VA, in Section MK-139.

Nininger's name is inscribed on the Wall of the Missing at the Manila American Cemetery and Memorial in Manila, Manila City, Philippines.

Honoree ID: 1568   Created by: MHOH




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