The President of the United States
in the name of The Congress
takes pleasure in presenting the
Medal of Honor
McKlNNEY, JOHN R.
Rank and Organization: Sergeant (then Private), U.S.
Army, Company A, 123d Infantry, 33d Infantry Division. Place and Date Tayabas
Province, Luzon, Philippine Islands, 11 May 1945. Entered Service at: Woodcliff,
Ga. Birth: Woodcliff, Ga. G.O. No.: 14, 4 February 1946.
He fought with extreme gallantry to defend the outpost which had been established near
Dingalan Bay. Just before daybreak approximately 100 Japanese stealthily attacked the
perimeter defense, concentrating on a light machinegun position manned by 3 Americans.
Having completed a long tour of duty at this gun, Pvt. McKinney was resting a few paces
away when an enemy soldier dealt him a glancing blow on the head with a saber. Although
dazed by the stroke, he seized his rifle, bludgeoned his attacker, and then shot another
assailant who was charging him. Meanwhile, 1 of his comrades at the machinegun had been
wounded and his other companion withdrew carrying the injured man to safety. Alone, Pvt.
McKinney was confronted by 10 infantrymen who had captured the machinegun with the evident
intent of reversing it to fire into the perimeter. Leaping into the emplacement, he shot 7
of them at pointblank range and killed 3 more with his rifle butt. In the melee the
machinegun was rendered inoperative, leaving him only his rifle with which to meet the
advancing Japanese, who hurled grenades and directed knee mortar shells into the
perimeter. He warily changed position, secured more ammunition, and reloading repeatedly,
cut down waves of the fanatical enemy with devastating fire or clubbed them to death in
hand-to-hand combat. When assistance arrived, he had thwarted the assault and was in
complete control of the area. Thirty-eight dead Japanese around the machinegun and 2 more
at the side of a mortar 45 yards distant was the amazing toll he had exacted
single-handedly. By his indomitable spirit, extraordinary fighting ability, and unwavering
courage in the face of tremendous odds, Pvt. McKinley saved his company from possible
annihilation and set an example of unsurpassed intrepidity.