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First Name: Ernest

Last Name: Janson

Birthplace: New York City, NY, USA

Gender: Male

Branch: Marines (present)

Middle Name: August

Date of Birth: 17 August 1878

Date of Death: 14 May 1930

Rank: Sergeant Major

Years Served: 1900-10 (Army), 1910-26 (USMC)
Ernest August Janson

•  World War I (1914 - 1918)


Ernest August Janson

Sergeant Major, U.S. Marine Corps

Medal of Honor Recipient

World War I

Sergeant Major Ernest August Janson (17 August 1878 - 14 May 1930) was a U.S. Marine who twice received the U.S. military's highest award for valor, the Medal of Honor, for a single heroic action during World War I. He was awarded the Medal of Honor from both the U.S. Navy and the U.S. Army. During World War I he served under the name, Charles F. Hoffman.

[Gunnery Sergeant Janson was one of five Marines during World War I to be awarded both the Army and Navy Medals of Honor. Two Medals of Honor may no longer be given for a single incident.]

Ernest August Janson was born on 17 August 1878, in New York, NY. After nearly ten years of honorable service with the U.S. Army, he enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps on 14 June 1910 at the Marine Barracks in Bremerton, WA. He was appointed a Corporal on 14 March 1911 and honorably discharged on 13 June 1914.

He re-enlisted on 17 June 1914 and was appointed a Sergeant on 24 August 1914. During this second enlistment, he served on the USS Nebraska from 13 July 1914 until 30 January 1915; on detached duty on the USS Montana from 30 January 1915 until 6 February 1915; on the USS Nebraska again from 6 February 1915 until 22 October 1916; and at Norfolk, VA, from 22 October 1916 until 25 May 1917.

Sergeant Janson sailed for France on the USS DeKalb on 14 June 1917, and disembarked at St. Nazaire, France, on 27 June 1917. Appointed a Gunnery Sergeant (a temporary warrant for the duration of the war) on 1 July 1917, he served honorably with the 49th Company, 5th Regiment, in its various activities.

On 6 June 1918 he was severely wounded in action. For his conspicuous service on that date, GySgt Janson was awarded both the Army and Navy Medals of Honor. The French Medaille Militaire, which carries the Croix de Guerre with Palm, the Montenegrin Silver Medal, the Portuguese Cruz de Guerra, and the Italian Croce di Guerra were also awarded to him for the same act of bravery.

Medals of Honor

Rank and organization: Gunnery Sergeant, U.S. Marine Corps, 49th Company. (Served under name of Charles F. Hoffman.) (Also received Army Medal of Honor.)

Citation: For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity above and beyond the call of duty in action with the enemy near Chateau-Thierry, France, 6 June 1918. Immediately after the company to which G/Sgt. Janson belonged, had reached its objective on Hill 142, several hostile counterattacks were launched against the line before the new position had been consolidated. G/Sgt. Janson was attempting to organize a position on the north slope of the hill when he saw 12 of the enemy, armed with 5 light machineguns, crawling toward his group. Giving the alarm, he rushed the hostile detachment, bayoneted the 2 leaders, and forced the others to flee, abandoning their guns. His quick action, initiative and courage drove the enemy from a position from which they could have swept the hill with machinegun fire and forced the withdrawal of our troops.

In November 1918, he returned to the U.S. and was admitted to the Naval Hospital, NY, for treatment of the wounds received in action on 6 June 1918.

At the expiration of his second enlistment on 25 April 1919, he was honorably discharged. He re-enlisted 7 May 1919 and served the full term of this enlistment as a recruiter in New York City. He was honorably discharged on 6 May 1923.

His fourth enlistment took place 7 May 1923, and he remained on recruiting duty until 20 July 1926, when he was transferred to Marine Barracks, Quantico, VA. On his return to duty at Quantico, he was re-instated to his wartime rank of Gunnery Sergeant and requested retirement the following month. He was advanced one grade to Sergeant Major on 31 August 1926, and placed on the retired list on 30 September 1926.

Sergeant Major Janson returned to New York and, during his last years, lived on Long Island.

Death and Burial

Sergeant Major Ernest August Janson died on 14 May 1930 after a brief illness. He is buried at Evergreen Cemetery in Brooklyn, NY.

Honoree ID: 1778   Created by: MHOH




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