I was made an Honorary Colonel of the 91st Infantry Division

I had the great honor of drawing a portrait of Oscar G. Johnson, Sergeant, U.S. Army, Company B, 363rd infantry, 91st infantry Division, and recipient of the Medal of Honor for Valor. He is one of many who have chosen a path of great personal sacrifice so that we can live in a free country, and I honor them all and thank them for all they and their families have given.

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CITATION:

The President of the United States
in the name of The Congress
takes pleasure in presenting the
Medal of Honor
to

JOHNSON, OSCAR G.


Rank and organization: Sergeant, U.S. Army, Company B, 363rd Infantry, 91st Infantry Division. Place and date: Near Scarperia, Italy, 1618 September 1944. Entered service at: Foster City, Mich. Birth: Foster City, Mich. G.O. No.: 58, 19 July 1945.

Citation: (then Pfc.) He practically single-handed protected the left flank of his company’s position in the offensive to break the German’s gothic line. Company B was the extreme left assault unit of the corps. The advance was stopped by heavy fire from Monticelli Ridge, and the company took cover behind an embankment. Sgt. Johnson, a mortar gunner, having expended his ammunition, assumed the duties of a rifleman. As leader of a squad of 7 men he was ordered to establish a combat post 50 yards to the left of the company to cover its exposed flank. Repeated enemy counterattacks, supported by artillery, mortar, and machine gun fire from the high ground to his front, had by the afternoon of 16 September killed or wounded all his men. Collecting weapons and ammunition from his fallen comrades, in the face of hostile fire, he held his exposed position and inflicted heavy casualties upon the enemy, who several times came close enough to throw hand grenades. On the night of 1617 September, the enemy launched his heaviest attack on Company B, putting his greatest pressure against the lone defender of the left flank. In spite of mortar fire which crashed about him and machine gun bullets which whipped the crest of his shallow trench, Sgt. Johnson stood erect and repulsed the attack with grenades and small arms fire. He remained awake and on the alert throughout the night, frustrating all attempts at infiltration. On 17 September, 25 German soldiers surrendered to him. Two men, sent to reinforce him that afternoon, were caught in a devastating mortar and artillery barrage. With no thought of his own safety, Sgt. Johnson rushed to the shell hole where they lay half buried and seriously wounded, covered their position by his fire, and assisted a Medical Corpsman in rendering aid. That night he secured their removal to the rear and remained on watch until his company was relieved. Five companies of a German paratroop regiment had been repeatedly committed to the attack on Company B without success. Twenty dead Germans were found in front of his position. By his heroic stand and utter disregard for personal safety, Sgt. Johnson was in a large measure responsible for defeating the enemy’s attempts to turn the exposed left flank.

Upon completion and presentation of the artwork, I was made “Honorary Colonel Cheryl Davis” by the 91st Infantry Division, The Powder River Division, Army of the United States, WWII, an elite infantry combat unit, second to none! (Friends of the 91st Division). An Honorary Colonel of Infantry & Honorary Member! What a great honor.

Thank you 91st!

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These guys are my heroes!

Thank you for your service & sacrifices!

MEMORIAL DAY – 2007

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Volunteers place flags on veteran’s graves at Riverside National Cemetery

12:13 PM PDT on Sunday, May 27, 2007

By MELISSA EISELEIN

The Press-Enterprise RIVERSIDE – When Brenda Johnson went to visit her husband’s grave at Riverside National Cemetery on Saturday, she did not expect to see a flag on his grave site and thousands more waving in the wind.“I just think this is so great. It makes it so beautiful,” Johnson said. “It’s a nice surprise.”With the help of friends, retired Air Force Senior Master Sgt. Bob Markham, of Redlands, placed about 3,000 flags in a section of the cemetery where Johnson’s husband, Oscar Johnson, is buried. It is the same section where Markham’s wife, Winona, was interred after her death in 2002.

Other people, including Daughters of the American Revolution member Mary Spangler, of Riverside, were also out Saturday placing flags on the graves of loved ones in preparation for Memorial Day. On Monday, Riverside National Cemetery will hold a Memorial Day ceremony to honor the men and women who have served and continue to serve in the military. Riverside Concert Band will open the event with a musical presentation at 10:30 a.m. Keynote speaker at this year’s ceremony will be Naval Reserve Senior Chief Petty Officer Mike Vanderwood. Vanderwood was stationed in Iraq and Kuwait, cemetery spokesman James Rich said Riverside National Cemetery has the nation’s second largest Memorial Day ceremony with about 10,000 people attending each year. The only other cemetery with a larger turnout is Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Va.Markham started a Saturday tradition of putting a flag on his wife’s grave site about four years ago. He also places flags on the graves of friends and 51 military men and women who died in Iraq and Afghanistan. In all, he places about 80 flags each Saturday, he said.

Before major military holidays including Memorial Day, Independence Day and Veterans Day, Markham pulls out every flag he owns and enlists the help of friends and others to place them at the head of many markers in section 57a, where about 4,000 people are interred, he said.

“Every one of the flags you see here is privately donated. They don’t come from the government,” Markham said.

Darren Harden, of Menifee, his wife, Michele, and 14-year-old daughter, Jasmine, were among the volunteers helping Markham set out his flags. They came in memory of the sailors Harden knew in the Navy who did not return from war, he said.

“This is our first time doing this, but there will be many more to come,” Michele Harden said.

Some facts about the 91st Div.:

Awards:

Medals of Honor: 6

Thousands of Lesser Awards for Valor

Citations:

Presidential Unit Citations: 3

Division Citations: 1

Casualties:

WWI: Killed in Action 1,134

WWII: Killed in Action 1400

WWI: WIA: 4,974

WWII: WIA: 7,344

WWI: Total: 6,108

WWII: Total: 8,744

 

Published in: on May 29, 2007 at 2:14 am  Comments (2)  

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2 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. What a great website. My cousin, Robert I. Parsons was a member of the 91st. I SAW YOUR SITE WHILE RESEARCHING THE 91ST. DIVISION.

  2. I saw your website while trying to find information on my uncle, James Patrick Connelly pfc, who was killed early in the Arno campaign. It makes me proud that the uncle I never met served in such an esteemed unit. Thank you!


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