A Legacy of Changing Lives
Private First Class Ralph H. Johnson (USMC)
Ralph Johnson was born and raised in Charleston, South Carolina. When our nation called, Ralph enlisted in the United States Marine Corps in March 1967 at the age of 18.
On March 5, 1968, Private First Class Johnson was a member of 1st Reconnaissance Battalion manning an observation post deep within enemy territory in Vietnam. While repelling one of many attacks by a significantly larger force, a hand grenade landed in his area. Without hesitation, he yelled a warning to his fellow Marines and dove on the explosive device to absorb the impact of the blast. Although the explosion killed Johnson instantly, his sacrifice saved the lives of the remaining members of his patrol. For his heroic actions, Private First Class Johnson was posthumously awarded our nation’s highest honor for valor – The Medal of Honor.
On March 24, 2018 the U. S. Navy will commission its newest destroyer, the USS RALPH JOHNSON (DDG 114), in Charleston, South Carolina at a ceremony that will honor Ralph’s selfless service and extraordinary heroism. When it is commissioned, DDG 114 will be the most technologically advanced ship in the US Navy. Additionally, in order to continue Ralph’s legacy of changing lives, a scholarship has been established at The Citadel in his name. This scholarship, administered by The Citadel Foundation, is designated for minority students from South Carolina who have a demonstrated financial need and a desire to pursue a Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) focused degree. The vision is that over the years Ralph Johnson Scholars will not only improve their own lives, but make a substantial impact on the lives of others in our state, our nation and the world.
Please visit the website at www.navyleaguecharleston.org to learn more about the commissioning ceremony. We also hope you will take the time to watch the brief video to learn more about Ralph’s life and inspiring service to the nation. On the website you can also follow the simple instructions on how to donate as you see fit to the PFC Ralph Johnson (USMC), Scholarship.