Schumer says new evidence could bring honor to Albany hero

Posted at: 10/24/2012 5:03 PM
Updated at: 10/24/2012 6:24 PM
By: WNYT Staff

ALBANY - Senator Chuck Schumer says his petition cannot miss this time. Schumer is talking about new evidence and a petition drive seeking the Medal of Honor for Albany native and World War I hero, Sergeant Henry Johnson.

This effort to gain the nation's highest military honor for Johnson has been going on for decades,  but Schumer says this time it's different: there's new evidence and a recent program on PBS that's inspiring Johnson supporters.

"Frankly, I would be shocked if they reject it this time,” said Schumer.

Schumer explains that three new pieces of evidence have been uncovered that should finally convince the Army that Albany native Johnson does indeed deserve the Medal of Honor.

Johnson had been prohibited from fighting alongside his fellow Americans because of his race, so he fought under the French flag and, in one battle, despite being wounded 21 times, he killed or fought off more than 20 Germans.

The senator says his nationwide petition effort was inspired by a recent episode of a program called "The History Detectives" on PBS that detailed Sergent Johnson's bravery and the quest for the Medal of Honor

Schumer was joined today at the Henry Johnson Memorial by others seeking the honor.

Schumer said one piece of the new evidence was a memo from General John Pershing himself.

The senator said it was read before Congress in 1918.

If you want to sign the petition for Sergeant Henry Johnson, click here.