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Marine’s name to be added to California Vietnam Veterans Memorial

Marine Pfc. Ralph Henry Johnson received the Medal of Honor posthumously after falling on a grenade to save his fellow Marines in Vietnam in 1968 when he was 19. His name will be added to the California Vietnam Veterans Memorial on Saturday.
Marine Pfc. Ralph Henry Johnson received the Medal of Honor posthumously after falling on a grenade to save his fellow Marines in Vietnam in 1968 when he was 19. His name will be added to the California Vietnam Veterans Memorial on Saturday.
(U.S. Marine Corps)

An oversight left over from the Vietnam War is set to be corrected Saturday at a ceremony in Capitol Park in Sacramento.

The name of Marine Pfc. Ralph Henry Johnson will be added to the California Vietnam Veterans Memorial.

For reasons that no one can exactly explain, Johnson’s name was not included when the wall was dedicated 25 years ago. Maybe because military records show him to be a native of South Carolina although he later lived in California and enlisted in 1967 in Oakland.

Johnson’s engraved name will be unveiled in a ceremony honoring him and other Californians killed during that long war.

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Johnson was a posthumous recipient of the Medal of Honor for diving on an enemy grenade to save fellow Marines during a battle in the Quan Duc Valley on March 5, 1968. He was killed instantly. He was 19.

“Pfc. Johnson’s courage, inspiring valor and selfless devotion to duty were in keeping with the highest traditions of the Marine Corps and the U.S. Naval Service,” according to his Medal of Honor citation.

Last year, the Navy announced it would name a destroyer under construction for Johnson.

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Twitter: @LATsandiego

tony.perry@latimes.com


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