Donald Ray Johnston was born in Columbus, Muscogee County, Georgia on November 19, 1947, and entered the service there. He graduated from Baker High School in 1966.
For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty. Sp4c. Johnston distinguished himself while serving as a mortarman with Company D, at a fire support base in Tay Ninh Province. Sp4c. 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. Sp4c. 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, Sp4c. 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. Sp4c. 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.
Upon entering the service, he was assigned to Company D, 1st Battalion, 8th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Cavalry Division.
He died in action on March 21, 1969, in the Tay Ninh Province, Vietnam. His family received his Medal of Honor citation from President Nixon on February 16, 1971.
Shown here are the medals Specialist 4th Class Donald Ray Johnson earned during his career. They include:
The main recruiting processing center at Fort Benning, Georgia is named in his honor.
Donald Ray Johnston is buried in the Fort Benning Post Cemetery in Muscogee County, Georgia.