Sgt. Henry Johnson: “Black Death”

WW1 Medal of Honor Recipient & Croix de Guerre

Doing sentry duty one night with his partner Needham Roberts, Johnson was attacked by about 30 German infantry. Surprised, they fought hand to hand even after Johnson was shot with a Luger pistol 4 times. Wounded multiple times more, Johnson eventually fought the Germans with only his bolo knife, ramming it completely through one soldier’s head. When the Germans retreated, Sgt. Johnson was left with over 20 wounds and barely alive. Killing 4 Germans and wounding a dozen more, Johnson was the only man left standing after the battle. His ferocious combat earned him the title of “Black Death”. The French Government awarded him the Croix de Guerre (the first American soldier to receive that award) but he would never live to see the honors bestowed to him in the US including the Medal of Honor in 2015. He was also awarded a Purple Heart and the Distinguished Service Cross. He died in 1929 aged 36 of myocarditis.

He may have started life as a lowly bellhop in Albany, New York but his Valor raised him to the Hall of Heroes never to be forgotten. Valor is in you. Set it free.

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