Regimental Division,
Office Chief of Signal

United States Army Signal Center, Fort Gordon, GA
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Header insignia for Distinguished Member biography pageDistinguished Member of the Regiment biography for

COL (Ret.) Gordon Johnston (1998)

Gordon Johnston was a cavalryman, but it was while he was detailed to the Signal Corps that he earned his Medal of Honor. Beginning his military service as an enlisted man during the Spanish-American War, he was commissioned in 1899. He served in the Philippines and earned the Distinguished Service Cross in February 1900. In September 1903, while a first lieutenant, he was detailed to the Signal Corps.

Although 1LT Johnston wasn’t pleased with the Signal Corps assignment, he again went to the Philippines. On March 7, 1906, he distinguished himself at Mount Bud-Dajo. According to a report by 6th Infantry’s MAJ Omar Bundy, 1LT Johnston "voluntarily joined me on the trail at daybreak ... before the advance began and accompanied me to the last trench below the cotta. While waiting to complete the dispositions for the charge, he asked and obtained permission to advance to the base of the cotta. This he did under a hot fire from the Morro rifle pit to our left. He was among the first to reach the cotta. When the charge was ordered, while gallantly raising himself up to gain a foothold to climb up in advance of the others, he was severely wounded. This especially brave action ... distinguished his conduct above that of his comrades. …"

MAJ Bundy’s recommendation that 1LT Johnston be awarded the Medal of Honor was approved by the officer commanding the expedition and by the commanding general of the Philippines Division. 1LT Johnston’s Medal of Honor was issued Nov. 7, 1910. His wound at Bud-Dajo probably earned him the Purple Heart also when this award was re-established in 1932.

While on temporary duty at the German Riding School in Hanover in 1906 – where he had been sent before he was restored to regular duty following his injury – he asked to be released from the Signal Corps assignment. The detail was terminated in December 1906.

1LT Johnston’s later career was as an infantry major in the National Army in August 1917, then lieutenant colonel in May 1918 and colonel in October 1918. In July 1920 he became a lieutenant colonel in the Regular Army, and in 1929 a colonel. COL Johnston was assigned to the General Staff Corps, and in 1919 was awarded the Distinguished Service Medal while serving as chief of staff for 82d Division during the unit’s Argonne area operations.

At the time of his death from a polo accident March 7, 1934, COL Johnston also held the Silver Star with two oak-leaf clusters. He is buried in Arlington National Cemetery. The Signal Regiment inducted COL Johnston as a Distinguished Member in 1998.

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Last modified on:
April 04, 2012

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