Albany, N.Y. • The secretary of defense has recommended a posthumous Medal of Honor for a black World War I soldier from upstate New York who saved a comrade while fighting off a German attack in France, U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer said Tuesday.
Chuck Hagel has sent Congress a letter saying Sgt. Henry Johnson should receive the nation's highest military decoration for bravery in combat, Schumer said. The railroad porter from Albany was serving in the all-black 369th Infantry Regiment when he killed or wounded several enemy soldiers while saving a fellow soldier from capture.
The president gets the final word on the medal request, which also requires passage of special legislation in Congress because Johnson's actions were more than five years ago. Schumer said he'll sponsor the legislation that would exempt Johnson from the Medal of Honor rules specifying that heroic actions have to have taken place within five years to be considered.