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First Name: Donald

Last Name: Johnston

Birthplace: Columbus, GA, USA

Gender: Male

Branch: Army (1784 - present)

Home of Record: Columbus, GA
Middle Name: Ray

Date of Birth: 19 November 1947

Date of Death: 21 March 1969

Rank: Specialist 4

Years Served: 1968 - 1969
Donald Ray Johnston

•  Vietnam War (1960 - 1973)


Donald Ray Johnston
Specialist Four, U.S. Army
Medal of Honor Recipient
Vietnam War

Specialist Four Donald Ray Johnston (19 November 1947 - 21 March 1969) was a U.S. Army soldier who was posthumously awarded the U.S. military's highest award for valor, the Medal of Honor, for his actions in the Vietnam War.

Johnston was born on 19 November 1947, in Columbus, GA. He also joined the Army at his birth city. On 21 March 1969, he was serving as a Specialist Four in Company D, 1st Battalion, 8th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Cavalry Division. On that day, in Tay Ninh Province, Republic of Vietnam, Johnston smothered the blasts of three enemy-thrown explosives with his body, sacrificing his life to protect those around him. For his heroic actions and self-sacrifice, Johnston was awarded the Medal of Honor.

Medal of Honor

Citation: For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty. Sp4 Johnston distinguished himself while serving as a mortarman with Company D, at a fire support base in Tay Ninh Province. Sp4 Johnston's company was in defensive positions when it came under a devastating rocket and mortar attack. Under cover of the bombardment, enemy sappers broke through the defensive perimeter and began hurling explosive charges into the main defensive bunkers. Sp4 Johnston and 6 of his comrades had moved from their exposed positions to 1 of the bunkers to continue their fight against the enemy attackers. As they were firing from the bunker, an enemy soldier threw 3 explosive charges into their position. Sensing the danger to his comrades, Sp4 Johnston, with complete disregard for his safety, hurled himself onto the explosive charges, smothering the detonations with his body and shielding his fellow soldiers from the blast. His heroic action saved the lives of 6 of his comrades. Sp4 Johnston's concern for his fellow men at the cost of his life were in the highest traditions of the military service and reflect great credit upon himself, his unit, and the U.S. Army.

Vietnam Veterans Memorial

Donald Ray Johnston's name is inscribed on Panel 29W - Line 104.


For Specialist Four Donald Ray Johnston's heroism, the main recruit processing building at the 30th Adjutant General in Fort Benning, GA, is named in his honor.

Death and Burial

Specialist Four Donald Ray Johnston was killed in action on 21 March 1969. He is buried at the Fort Benning Post Cemetery in Fort Benning, GA.

Honoree ID: 987   Created by: MHOH




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