Home Dutchess County Congressman Ryan fights for Medal of Honor for fallen Korean War hero

Congressman Ryan fights for Medal of Honor for fallen Korean War hero

Congressman Ryan fights for Medal of Honor for fallen Korean War hero

LAGRANGEVILLE During a combat in the Korean War, more than 70 years ago, U.S. Army Private First Class (PFC) Charles Johnson gave his life to save the lives of his comrades.

Johnson, an Arlington High School alum, was awarded a Silver Star for his bravery. Now, President Joe Biden is being pushed by Congressman Pat Ryan (D, NY-18) to have Johnson’s Silver Star elevated to the Medal of Honor, the highest military decoration in the country for courage.

Ryan stated that PFC Johnson is a true American hero and that it is unacceptable to let another day pass without giving him the Medal of Honor that he is due. His profoundly heroic acts came from a life solidly based on service to his country, his hometown of Millbrook, and his unshakable devotion to and sense of duty toward his fellow service members.

On June 11, 1953, Johnson and his battalion came under heavy fire while serving close to the demilitarized zone separating North and South Korea. Despite being seriously hurt, he ignored his own health in order to cater to his friends’ wounds. Johnson, surrounded and without ammo, fled the relative protection of the trench he and his friends were hiding in in order to obtain weapons and fend off the opposing front on his own. Johnson is credited with saving at least eight American lives by his selfless acts, which made it possible for reinforcements to rescue his fellow soldiers.

Johnson should be honored with the Medal of Honor for his deeds, but up until 2011, he was not recognized for his valor in battle with a medal other than the Silver Star, the third-highest in the military. Congressman Ryan demanded in a letter to President Biden that the upgrade be given out right now.

Congressman Ryan requested the expeditious upgrade in a letter to President Biden, pointing out that PFC Johnson has long been denied due credit for his valiant deeds and that the Fiscal Year 2022 National Defense Authorization Act (FY22 NDAA) contained a clause waiving the customary five-year period for Medal of Honor awards in PFC Johnson’s case. Even though the Department of Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin recommended that PFC Johnson get the Medal of Honor right away and the FY22 NDAA was enacted into law, nothing has been done to carry out that recommendation.

Before enlisting in the US Army, PFC Johnson graduated from Arlington High School in 1951, where he excelled as an athlete and served as class vice president. Ryan recently paid a visit to the Johnson Hall and Wall of Remembrance at Arlington High School, which are honoring his legacy and acts of bravery.

According to Ryan, Johnson’s life deserves a special place in American history for his family, his town, and every other American who can find motivation in his unselfish sacrifice.


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