Born at Detroit, Michigan, May 7, 1947, Dwight H. Johnson earned the Medal of Honor in Vietnam while serving as Specialist 5th Class with Company B, 1st Battalion, 69th Armor, 4th Infantry Division near Dak To, Kontum Province, Republic of Vietnam on January 15, 1968.
His life ended tragically after his return to the United States. He had been assigned to the Army Recruiting Agency in the Detroit area and also served as an Army Public Affairs Representative. On the evening of April 30, 1971, he was shot to death while attempting to holdup as liquor store in Detroit.
He was subsequently buried in Section 31 of Arlington National Cemetery.
JOHNSON, DWIGHT H.
Rank and organization: Specialist Fifth Class, U.S. Army, Company B, 1st Battalion, 69th Armor, 4th Infantry Division. Place and date: Near Dak To, Kontum Province, Republic of Vietnam, 15 January 1968. Entered service at: Detriot, Michigan. Born: 7 May 1947, Detroit, Michigan.
For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty.
Specialist 5 Johnson, a tank driver with Company B, was a member of a reaction force moving to aid other elements of his platoon, which was in heavy contact with a battalion size North Vietnamese force.
Specialist Johnson's tank, upon reaching the point of contact, threw a track and became immobilized. Realizing that he could do no more as a driver, he climbed out of the vehicle, armed only with a .45 caliber pistol.
Despite intense hostile fire, Specialist Johnson killed several enemy soldiers before he had expended his ammunition. Returning to his tank through a heavy volume of antitank rocket, small arms and automatic weapons fire, he obtained a sub-machine gun with which to continue his fight against the advancing enemy.
Armed with this weapon, Specialist Johnson again braved deadly enemy fire to return to the center of the ambush site where he courageously eliminated more of the determined foe. Engaged in extremely close combat when the last of his ammunition was expended, he killed an enemy soldier with the stock end of his submachine gun.
Now weaponless, Specialist Johnson ignored the enemy fire around him, climbed into his platoon sergeant's tank, extricated a wounded crewmember and carried him to an armored personnel carrier. He then returned to the same tank and assisted in firing the main gun until it jammed. In a magnificent display of courage, Specialist Johnson exited the tank and again armed only with a .45 caliber pistol,
he engaged several North Vietnamese troops in close proximity to the vehicle.
Fighting his way through devastating fire and remounting his own immobilized tank, he remained fully exposed to the enemy as he bravely and skillfully engaged them with the tank's externally-mounted .50 caliber machine gun; where he remained until the situation was brought under control.
Specialist Johnson's profound concern for his fellow soldiers, at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty are in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service and reflect great credit upon himself and the United States Army.
President Johnson presenting the
Medal of Honor at the White House
Photo Courtesy of the National Archives
JOHNSON, DWIGHT H
DATE OF BIRTH: 05/07/1947
DATE OF DEATH: 04/30/1971
BURIED AT: SECTION 31 SITE 471
ARLINGTON NATIONAL CEMETERY
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Michael Robert Patterson was born in Arlington and is the son of a former officer of the US Army. So it was no wonder that sooner or later his interests drew him to American history and especially to American military history. Many of his articles can be found on renowned portals like the New York Times, Washingtonpost or Wikipedia.
Reviewed by: Michael Howard