National POW/MIA Recognition Day 2015


Defense Prisoner of War * Missing Personnel Office

“Keeping the Promise”, “Fulfill their Trust” and “No one left behind” are several of many mottos that refer to the efforts of the Department of Defense to recover those who became missing while serving our nation.

More than 83,000 Americans are missing from World War II, the Korean War, the Cold War, the Vietnam War and the 1991 Gulf War. Hundreds of Defense Department men and women — both military and civilian — work in organizations around the world as part of DoD’s personnel recovery and personnel accounting communities. They are all dedicated to the single mission of finding and bringing our missing personnel home. The mission requires expertise in archival research, intelligence collection and analysis, field investigations and recoveries, and scientific analysis.


World War II 

Of the 16 million Americans who served in WWII, more than 400,000 died during the war. At the end of the war, there were approximately 79,000 Americans unaccounted for. This number included those buried with honor as unknowns, officially buried at sea, lost at sea, and missing in action.

Today, more than 73,000 Americans remain unaccounted for from WWII.

Korean War

The Korean War accounting effort remains a priority for the U.S. government. DPMO pursues opportunities to gain access to loss sites within North Korea and South Korea. Additionally, identifications continue to be made from remains that were returned to the United States using forensic and DNA technology.

More than 7,500 Americans remain unaccounted for from the Korean War.

Vietnam War

Since 1973, the remains of more than 900 Americans killed in the Vietnam War have been identified and returned to their families for burial with full military honors.

For more than a decade the United States has conducted joint field activities with the governments of Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia to recover the remains of missing Americans. Throughout those countries, teams continue to investigate crash and burial sites, as well as interview locals to gain additional knowledge. The United States also continues to obtain access to historical wartime records and archives that provide information relevant to the fates of missing Americans.

Today, more than 1,600 Americans remain unaccounted for from the conflict.

For more:

us soldiers creed.

President Obama: “We Do Not Leave Anybody Wearing the American Uniform Behind”

We do not leave anybody wearing the American uniform behind.

We had a prisoner of war whose health had deteriorated and we were deeply concerned about, and we saw an opportunity and we seized it. And I make no apologies for that.

We had discussed with Congress the possibility that something like this might occur. But because of the nature of the folks that we were dealing with and the fragile nature of these negotiations, we felt it was important to go ahead and do what we did. And we’re now explaining to Congress the details of how we moved forward. But this basic principle that we don’t leave anybody behind and this basic recognition that that often means prisoner exchanges with enemies is not unique to my administration — it dates back to the beginning of our Republic.

And with respect to how we announced it, I think it was important for people to understand that this is not some abstraction, this is not a political football. You have a couple of parents whose kid volunteered to fight in a distant land, who they hadn’t seen in five years and weren’t sure whether they’d ever see again. And as Commander-in-Chief of the United States Armed Forces, I am responsible for those kids. And I get letters from parents who say, if you are in fact sending my child into war, make sure that that child is being taken care of. And I write too many letters to folks who unfortunately don’t see their children again after fighting the war.

I make absolutely no apologies for making sure that we get back a young man to his parents and that the American people understand that this is somebody’s child and that we don’t condition whether or not we make the effort to try to get them back.”

6/5/14 President Barack Obama


National POW/MIA Recognition Day
Friday, Sept. 18, 2015

This annual event honors prisoners of war and our missing
and their families,

and highlights the government’s commitment to account for them.


Sorry but ProPresObama thread comments &
WH daily schedule not available 9/10/15 – 9/19/15

U.S. Ranger School Opens to Females

U.S. Army Rangers repel from a tower during demonstration during Army Ranger school graduation Friday, Aug. 21, 2015, at Fort Benning, Ga. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)
U.S. Army Rangers repel from a tower during demonstration during Army Ranger school graduation Friday, Aug. 21, 2015, at Fort Benning, Ga. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)

us soldiers creed

Capt. Kristen Griest (left) and 1st Lt. Shaye Haver (right) first women to receive their Ranger tabs
Capt. Kristen Griest (left) and 1st Lt. Shaye Haver (right) first women to receive their Ranger tabs

These are the Army’s first female Ranger School graduates

August 18, 2015 By Dan Lamothe – washingtonpost

For more than 120 days, Capt. Kristen Griest and 1st Lt. Shaye Haver have ground it out at Ranger School, the Army’s famously difficult school designed to build elite leaders capable of withstanding the rigors of combat. They’ve withstood fearsome weather, exhausting hikes, sleepless nights and simulated combat patrols designed to test their reaction time, teamwork and tenacity under fire.

On Friday, the two women will become the first female soldiers ever to graduate from the course at Fort Benning, Ga., receiving the coveted black and yellow Ranger Tab alongside 94 male counterparts. Griest, a military police officer from Orange, Conn., and Haver, an Apache helicopter pilot from Copperas Cove, Tex., are among a group of 20 women who qualified to attend the first gender-integrated Ranger School beginning April 20, and the only two female soldiers to complete it to date.

The graduation of Haver and Griest, both in their 20s and alumnae of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, N.Y., increases pressure on the Army to integrate women into more combat jobs. They have not previously been identified by the Army, but The Washington Post, Christian Science Monitor and Columbus Ledger-Enquirer in Georgia were able to do so after observing Ranger School training several times this year.

Ranger School was opened to women for the first time in April as the Army assesses how to integrate women into more jobs in combat units across the service. That followed a January 2013 decision by senior Pentagon leaders to open all jobs to women, with the services granted until this fall to make recommendations on whether anything should remain closed. Defense Secretary Ashton B. Carter is expected to rule on each request by Jan. 1.

For more:

After historic graduation, Army removes all restrictions on women attending Ranger School

September 2, 2015 Dan Lamothe – washingtonpost

The Army announced Wednesday that it is opening its legendary Ranger School to women on a full-time basis, following the historic graduation last month of two female soldiers.

The school, with headquarters at Fort Benning, Ga., has been a centerpiece of the military’s ongoing research on integrating women into more jobs in combat units. Capt. Kristen Griest, 26, a military policy officer, and 1st Lt. Shaye Haver, 25, an Apache helicopter pilot, became the first women to graduate from school Aug. 21, after spending months alongside men enduring the grueling training.

Army Secretary John McHugh said in a statement that the service must ensure that the opportunity afforded to Griest and Haver is available to “all soldiers who are qualified and capable,” and that the Army is continuing to assess how to select, train and retain its best soldiers. Gen. Mark A. Milley, the service’s top officer, added in the same statement that combat readiness remains the Army’s top priority.

“Giving every qualified soldier the opportunity to attend the Ranger Course, the Army’s premier small unit leadership school, ensures we are maintaining our combat readiness today, tomorrow and for future generations,” Milley said.

For more:


 US Women’s Rights Movement Timeline 1848 – 2015  ( Civil Rights Timelines ™)

End of WWII – 70th Anniversary

Top L: Battle of Wanjialing, Top R: First Battle of El Alamein, Mid L: Battle of Stalingrad, Mid R: German dive bombers over East Front winter 1943-1944, Bottom L: Wilhelm Keitel signing German Instrument of Surrender, Bottom R: Invasion of Lingayen Gulf
Top L: Battle of Wanjialing, Top R: First Battle of El Alamein, Mid L: Battle of Stalingrad, Mid R: German dive bombers over East Front winter 1943-1944, Bottom L: Wilhelm Keitel signing German Instrument of Surrender, Bottom R: Invasion of Lingayen Gulf

World War II, or the Second World War was a global military conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945 which involved most of the world’s nations, including all of the great powers, organised into two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis. It was the most widespread war in history, with more than 100 million military personnel mobilised. In a state of “total war“, the major participants placed their entire economic, industrial, and scientific capabilities at the service of the war effort, erasing the distinction between civilian and military resources. Marked by significant action against civilians, including the Holocaust and the only use of nuclear weapons in warfare, it was the deadliest conflict in human history, and it has been estimated that it resulted in fifty million to over seventy million fatalities.

The war is generally accepted to have begun on 1 September 1939, with the invasion of Poland by Nazi Germany and subsequent declarations of war on Germany by France and most of the countries of the British Empire and Commonwealth. China and Japan were already at war by this date, whereas other countries that were not initially involved joined the war later in response to events such as the German invasion of the Soviet Union and the Japanese attacks on the U.S. Pacific Fleet at Pearl Harbor and on British overseas colonies, which triggered declarations of war on Japan by the United States, the British Commonwealth, and the Netherlands.

The war ended with the disintegration of the German war effort and the unconditional surrender of the Empire of Japan by 1945. World War II left the political alignment and social structure of the world significantly altered. While the United Nations was established to foster international cooperation and prevent future conflicts, the Soviet Union and the United States emerged as rival superpowers, setting the stage for the Cold War, which would last for the next forty-six years. Meanwhile, the United States’ strong advocacy of the principle of self-determination accelerated decolonization movements in Asia and Africa, while Western Europe began moving toward economic recovery and increased political integration.

The exact date of the war’s end is also not universally agreed upon. It was generally accepted at the time that the war ended with the armistice of 14 August 1945 (V-J Day), rather than the formal surrender of Japan (2 September 1945); it is even claimed in some European histories that it ended on V-E Day (8 May 1945).[citation needed] A peace treaty with Japan was signed in 1951 to formally tie up any loose ends such as compensation to be paid to Allied prisoners of war who had been victims of atrocities. A treaty regarding Germany’s future allowed the reunification of East and West Germany to take place in 1990 and resolved other post-World War II issues.

Belligerents Commanders Casualties and Losses

Soviet Union (1941-45)
United States (1941-45)
United Kingdom
China (at war 1937-45)
New Zealand
South Africa South Africa
Belgium (1940-45)
Netherlands (1940-45)
Yugoslavia (1941-45)
Greece (1940-45)
Norway (1940-45)
and others
Axis and Axis-aligned
Japan (at war 1937-45)
Italy (1940-43)
Hungary (1940-45)
Romania (1941-44)
Finland (1941-44)
Bulgaria (1941-44)
Independent State of Croatia (1941-45)
Slovakia Slovakia
France Vichy France (1940-44)
Thailand (1941-45)
and others
Allied leaders
Soviet Union Joseph Stalin
Soviet Union Georgy Zhukov
United States Franklin D. Roosevelt
United States George Marshall
United Kingdom Winston Churchill
United Kingdom Alan Brooke
Republic of China Chiang Kai-shek
Free French Forces Charles de Gaulle
Democratic Federal Yugoslavia Josip Broz Tito
and others
Axis leaders
Nazi Germany Adolf Hitler
Nazi Germany Wilhelm Keitel
Empire of Japan Hirohito
Empire of Japan Hideki Tōjō
Kingdom of Italy (1861–1946) Benito Mussolini
Kingdom of Hungary (1920–1946) Miklós Horthy
Kingdom of Romania Ion Antonescu
France Philippe Pétain
Finland C.G.E. Mannerheim
and others
Military dead:
Over 16,000,000
Civilian dead:
Over 45,000,000
Total dead:
Over 61,000,000 (1937-45)
further details
Military dead:
Over 8,000,000
Civilian dead:
Over 4,000,000
Total dead:
Over 12,000,000 (1937-45)
further details

Military history of the United States during World War II

The Veterans Administration

Aug 14-16, 2015


#WWII70    #VJDay70

End of Segregation in the U.S. Armed Forces – 67th Anniversary

Military History of African Americans spans from the arrival of the first black slaves during the colonial history of the United States to the present day. There has been no war fought by or within the United States in which African Americans did not participate, including the Revolutionary War, the War of 1812, the Mexican-American War, the Civil War, the Spanish American War, the World Wars, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, the Gulf War, and the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, as well as other minor conflicts.

African-Americans as slaves and free blacks served on both sides during the war. Black soldiers served in northern militias from the outset, but this was forbidden in the South, where slave-owners feared arming slaves. Lord Dunmore, the Royal Governor of Virginia, issued an emancipation proclamation in November 1775, promising freedom to runaway slaves who fought for the British; Sir Henry Clinton issued a similar edict in New York in 1779. Over 100,000 slaves escaped to the British lines, although possibly as few as 1,000 served under arms. Many of the rest served as orderlies, mechanics, laborers, servants, scouts and guides, although more than half died in smallpox epidemics that swept the British forces, and many were driven out of the British lines when food ran low. Despite Dunmore’s promises, the majority were not given their freedom. Many Black Loyalists’ descendants now live in Canada.

In response, and because of manpower shortages, Washington lifted the ban on black enlistment in the Continental Army in January 1776. All-black units were formed in Rhode Island and Massachusetts; many were slaves promised freedom for serving in lieu of their masters; another all-African-American unit came from Haiti with French forces. At least 5,000 African-American soldiers fought as Revolutionaries, and at least 20,000 served with the British.

List of African American Medal of Honor recipients


.Asian Pacific Americans Military - banner

Military History of Asian Americans  have fought and served on behalf of the United States since the War of 1812. During the American Civil War Asian Americans fought for both the Union and the Confederacy.  Afterwards Asian Americans served primarily in the U.S. Navy until the Philippine-American War.

At the beginning of the 20th century, Asian Americans began to attend U.S. military academies, and the first Asian Americans were awarded the Medal of Honor. World War I saw Asian Americans serving as “non-whites” in the National Army. After World War I, Asian American service fell into obscurity until World War II when significant contributions by Japanese, Chinese, Filipino, and Korean Americans were documented.

With the desegregation of the U.S. military in 1948, segregated Asian American units ceased to exist, and Asian Americans served in integrated armed forces. Asian American combatants in the Korean and Vietnam conflicts were awarded the Medal of Honor, and Asian Americans have continued to serve until the present day.

List of Asian American Medal of Honor recipients


Hispanic-Americans in the U.S. Military

Hispanics and Latinos have participated in the military of the United States and in every major military conflict from the American Revolution onward. Tens of thousands of Latinos are deployed in the Iraq War, the Afghanistan War, and U.S. military missions and bases elsewhere. Hispanics and Latinos have not only distinguished themselves in the battlefields but also reached the high echelons of the military, serving their country in sensitive leadership positions on domestic and foreign posts. Up to now, 43 Hispanics and Latinos have been awarded the nation’s highest military distinction, the Medal of Honor (also known as the Congressional Medal of Honor).

List of Hispanic Medal of Honor recipients



Native Americans in the U.S. Army

A Long Tradition Of Participation

American Indians have participated with distinction in United States military actions for more than 200 years. Their courage, determination, and fighting spirit were recognized by American military leaders as early as the 18th century.

Many tribes were involved in the War of 1812, and Indians fought for both sides as auxiliary troops in the Civil War. Scouting the enemy was recognized as a particular skill of the Native American soldier. In 1866, the U.S. Army established its Indian Scouts to exploit this aptitude. The Scouts were active in the American West in the late 1800s and early 1900s, accompanying Gen. John J. Pershing’s expedition to Mexico in pursuit of Pancho Villa in 1916. They were deactivated in 1947 when their last member retired from the Army in ceremonies at Ft. Huachuca, Arizona. Native Americans from Indian Territory were also recruited by Teddy Roosevelt’s Rough Riders and saw action in Cuba in the Spanish-American War in 1898. As the military entered the 20th century, American Indians had already made a substantial contribution through military service and were on the brink of playing an even larger role.



A Brief History of American Indian Military Service

5/28/12 Konnie LeMay – indiancountrytodaymedianetwork

Ask about Americans Indians serving in the U.S. military service and World War II generally comes to mind with the Navajo code talkers or perhaps Marine Cpl. Ira Hayes (Pima) in the photo of the U.S. flag raising at Iwo Jima. But the history of Native Americans in military services stretches in the past and the present much farther and deeper.

Basically from the time of European arrival on this continent, the indigenous people have taken sides and taken up arms in conflicts – though not always supporting the United States’ cause and sometime in conflicts against other tribal nations.

For more:

Native American Medal of Honor Recipients


President Harry S. Truman signs Executive Order 9981 issued on July 26, 1948.

Executive Order 9981 is an executive order issued on July 26, 1948 by President Harry S. Truman (D). It abolished racial discrimination in the armed forces and eventually led to the end of segregation in the services.

In 1947, A. Philip Randolph, along with colleague Grant Reynolds, renewed efforts to end discrimination in the armed services, forming the Committee Against Jim Crow in Military Service and Training, later renamed the League for Non-Violent Civil Disobedience Against Military Segregation.

Truman’s Order expanded on Executive Order 8802 by establishing equality of treatment and opportunity in the Armed Services for people of all races, religions, or national origins.

The Order’s operative statement is:

It is hereby declared to be the policy of the President that there shall be equality of treatment and opportunity for all persons in the armed services without regard to race, color, religion or national origin. This policy shall be put into effect as rapidly as possible, having due regard to the time required to effectuate any necessary changes without impairing efficiency or morale.

The order also established a committee to investigate and make recommendations to the civilian leadership of the military to implement the policy.



Independence Day 2015


July 4, 1776, the United States Declaration of Independence was adopted by the Continental Congress which announced that the thirteen American colonies then at war with Great Britain were now independent states. Written primarily by Thomas Jefferson, the Declaration is a formal explanation of why Congress had voted on July 2 to declare independence from Great Britain, more than a year after the outbreak of the American Revolutionary War. The birthday of the United States of America—Independence Day—is celebrated on July 4, the day the wording of the Declaration was approved by Congress.

We celebrate the 238th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence and the beginning of American democracy.


Salute to the Military

President Obama and First Lady Michelle will celebrate the Fourth of July by hosting military heroes and their families with a Seventh Annual “Salute to the Military” USO Concert  at the White House.  The celebration includes a barbeque, USO concert and a view of fireworks on the South Lawn.


8:10 PM EDT: USO Concert
8:45 PM EDT President Obama Delivers Remarks at a Fourth of July Celebration
9:15 PM EDT: National  Capital fireworks display

Live Stream:

White House App.
US Women's National Soccer Team  - 2015 FIFA World Cup Women's Champions
US Women’s National Soccer Team
– 2015 FIFA World Cup Women’s Champions

Happy July 4th America

First Lady Michelle Obama Travels to the U.K. & Italy

First Lady Michelle Obama to Travel to the United Kingdom and Italy First Lady Michelle Obama will travel to London, Milan, and Vicenza from June 15-21, 2015.  Accompanying Mrs. Obama on this trip will be her mother, Mrs. Marian Robinson, and daughters, Malia and Sasha Obama. As part of the Let Girls Learn initiative and following her recent visits to Japan and Cambodia, the First Lady will visit London where she will meet with students and discuss how the UK and the U.S. are working together to expand access to girls education around the world – supporting adolescent girls in completing their education. As part of the First Lady’s Let’s Move! initiative, the First Lady will lead a Presidential Delegation to the Milan Expo 2015 representing our steadfast commitment to a healthier nation.  The Presidential Delegation will tour the USA Pavilion, “American Food 2.0: United to Feed the Planet,” and participate in activities to lift up efforts to support healthier families and communities. And as part of the Joining Forces initiative, Mrs. Obama will visit members of the military and their families stationed in Vicenza, Italy.  The First Lady will also visit cultural sites in Venice before returning to Washington, DC.

U.S. First Lady Michelle Obama, speaks as Justine Greening the Secretary of State for International Development  and Bina Contreras, look on - Mulberry School for Girls, London (AP Photo/Matt Dunham)
U.S. First Lady Michelle Obama, speaks as Justine Greening the Secretary of State for International Development and Bina Contreras, look on – Mulberry School for Girls, London (AP Photo/Matt Dunham)

LetGirlsLearn statistics1

First Lady Michelle Obama @ USAPavilion2015
First Lady Michelle Obama @ USAPavilion2015
We is not only me. A worldwide network of women to
We is not only me.
A worldwide network of women to “feed the planet
Michelle Obama 1,400-year-old Olive Tree, Salento, Italy
Michelle Obama 1,400-year-old Olive Tree, Salento, Italy

First Lady Michelle Obama’s UK & Italy Itinerary

Monday, June 15th

First Lady Michelle Obama, Mrs. Marian Robinson, Malia Obama and Sasha Obama travel to London

Tuesday, June 16th
First Lady Michelle Obama, Mrs. Marian Robinson, Malia Obama and Sasha Obama arrive in London
Stanstead Airport, London, England

Mrs. Marian Robinson, Malia Obama and Sasha Obama visit with students
Mulberry School for Girls, London, England

First Lady Obama delivers remarks on the ‘Let Girls Learn’ Initiative
Mulberry School for Girls, London, England

First Lady Michelle Obama hosts a roundtable discussion with representatives from the Research for Equitable Access and Learning Centre, Peace Corps, former prime minister of Australia Julia Gillard and students on expanding access to girls education around the world
Mulberry School for Girls, London, England

First Lady Michelle Obama meets with British Prime Minister David Cameron and his wife Samantha
Downing Street, London, England

First Lady Michelle Obama meets with The Prince Henry of Wales
Kensington Palace, London, England

Wednesday, June 17th

First Lady Michelle Obama, Mrs. Marian Robinson, Malia Obama and Sasha Obama travel to Milan
First Lady Michelle Obama, Mrs. Marian Robinson, Malia Obama and Sasha Obama arrive in Milan

First Lady Obama meets with Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi and his wife
Milan, Italy

First Lady Obama and the Presidential Delegation to the Milan Expo 2015 tour the expo exhibit
Expo 2015, Milan, Italy

First Lady Obama and the Presidential Delegation to tour the expo exhibit at the USA Pavilion
Expo 2015, Milan, Italy

First Lady Obama and The Presidential Delegation participate in activities to lift up efforts to support healthier families and communities
Expo 2015, Milan, Italy

Thursday, June 18th

First Lady Obama, Mrs. Marian Robinson, Malia Obama and Sasha Obama tour Milan with Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi and his wife
Milan, Italy

First Lady Michelle Obama’s Italy Itinerary

Friday, June 19th

First Lady Michelle Obama, Mrs. Marian Robinson, Malia Obama and Sasha Obama travel to Vicenza

First Lady Michelle Obama visits the US Army North to meet American military families
Vicenza, Italy

First Lady Michelle Obama, Mrs. Marian Robinson, Malia Obama and Sasha Obama travel to Venice

First Lady Michelle Obama, Mrs. Marian Robinson, Malia Obama and Sasha Obama arrive in Venice

First Lady Michelle Obama, Mrs. Marian Robinson, Malia Obama and Sasha Obama tour the canal-crossed UNESCO World Heritage site
Venice, Italy

Saturday, June 20th

First Lady Michelle Obama, Mrs. Marian Robinson, Malia Obama and Sasha Obama depart Venice

Follow First Lady Michelle‘s UK & Italy Travels:



William Shemin & Henry Johnson – Medal of Honor Recipients

The Medal of Honor is the highest military decoration awarded by the United States government. It is bestowed by the President in the name of Congress on members of the United States Armed Forces who distinguish themselves through “conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his or her life above and beyond the call of duty while engaged in an action against an enemy of the United States.

Members of all branches of the armed forces are eligible to receive the medal, and there are three versions; one for the Army, one for the Air Force, and one for the Navy, Marine Corps and Coast Guard. The Medal of Honor is bestowed upon an individual by the passing of a Joint Resolution in the Congress; and is then personally presented to the recipient or, in the case of posthumous awards, to next of kin, by the President of the United States, on behalf of the Congress, representing and recognizing the gratitude of the American people as a whole.

Medal of Honor

Sgt William Shemin

William Shemin was born in Bayonne, New Jersey, Oct. 14, 1896. During his teenage years, Shemin played semi-pro baseball. He graduated from the New York State Ranger School in 1914, and went on to work as a forester in Bayonne. After the United States entered World War I, Shemin enlisted in the Army, Oct. 2, 1917. Upon completion of basic training at Camp Greene, North Carolina, he was assigned as a rifleman to Company G, 47th Infantry Regiment, 4th Infantry Division, American Expeditionary Forces, in France.

During Shemin’s service, he participated in the Aisne-Marne Offensive, where he took shrapnel and was wounded by a machine gun bullet that pierced his helmet and was lodged behind his left ear. Following his injuries, Shemin was hospitalized for three months and later received light duty as part of the Army occupation in Germany and Belgium until he completed his tour.

For the injuries he sustained during combat, Shemin received the Purple Heart. He was also awarded the Distinguished Service Cross for battlefield valor, Dec. 29, 1919.

For more:

Sgt Henry Johnson

Born William Henry Johnson in Winston Salem, North Carolina, Johnson moved to New York as a teenager. He worked various jobs – as a chauffeur, soda mixer, laborer in a coal yard, and a redcap porter at Albany’s Union Station. He enlisted in the U.S. Army, June 5, 1917, and was assigned to Company C, 15th New York (Colored) Infantry Regiment – an all-black National Guard unit that would later become the 369th Infantry Regiment.

The 369th Infantry Regiment was ordered into battle in 1918, and Johnson and his unit were brigaded with a French army colonial unit in front-line combat. Johnson served one tour of duty to the western edge of the Argonne Forest in France’s Champagne region, from 1918-1919.

For his battlefield valor, Johnson became one of the first Americans to be awarded the French Croix de Guerre avec Palme, France’s highest award for valor.

For more:


The 369th Infantry Regiment, formerly known as the 15th New York National Guard Regiment, was an infantry regiment of the United States Army that saw action in World War I and World War II. The Regiment consisted of African-Americans and African Puerto Ricans and was known for being the first African-American regiment to serve with the American Expeditionary Force during World War I. Before the 15th New York National Guard Regiment was formed, any African American that wanted to fight in the war either had to enlist in the French or Canadian armies. The regiment was nicknamed the Harlem Hellfighters, the Black Rattlers and the Men of Bronze, which was given to the regiment by the French. The nickname “Hell Fighters” was given to them by the Germans due to their toughness and that they never lost a man through capture, lost a trench or a foot of ground to the enemy. The “Harlem Hellfighters” were the first all black regiment that helped change the American public’s opinion on African American soldiers and helped pave the way for future African American soldiers.

Two Medals of Honor and many Distinguished Service Crosses were awarded to members of the regiment. The most celebrated man in the 369th was (then) Pvt. Henry Lincoln Johnson, a former Albany, New York, rail station porter, who earned the nickname “Black Death” for his actions in combat in France. In May 1918 Johnson and Pvt. Needham Roberts fought off a 24-man German patrol, though both were severely wounded. After they expended their ammunition, Roberts used his rifle as a club and Johnson battled with a bolo knife. Reports suggest that Johnson killed at least four German soldiers and might have wounded 30 others. Usually black achievements and valor went unnoticed, despite that fact over 100 men from the 369th were presented with American and/or French medals. Among those honors Johnson was the first American to receive the Croix de Guerre awarded by the French government. This award signifies extraordinary valor. By the end of the war, 171 members of the 369th were awarded the Legion of Honor or the Croix de Guerre.



June 2, 2015
President Barack Obama awards Army Sergeant William Shemin
and Army Sergeant Henry Johnson the Medal of Honor posthumously
White House



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