Burke’s JROTC Cadets Assist with USS Ralph H. Johnson Memorial


Raven Mitchell, Staff Writer

On March 24, 2018, Burke High School JROTC assisted with the Commissioning Ceremony of the USS Ralph H. Johnson. The USS Ralph Johnson is the Navy’s newest Guided Missile Destroyer and its Commissioning Ceremony included a dedication to war hero Private First Class Ralph H. Johnson for his bravery and service as a Marine in the Vietnam War. Burke’s JROTC enjoyed the enrichment of participating in an important military moment while learning more about the history of Charleston.

In preparation for the Commissioning Ceremony, the JROTC students were invited to take a tour of  the now newly named ship. They got to learn first hand the history of the ship and why the name is so important. Ralph H Johnson was a US Marine in the mid 1900’s . He sacrificed his life by jumping on a fired grenade and shielding his fellow soldiers from the blast and saved them. He was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor in 1970 for his heroic act and the ship was named after him.

Burke students ushered his memorial service which many described as a great and humbling opportunity. Many representatives attended such as Mayor Tecklenberg , Senator Tim Scott, and Ralph Johnson’s own sister, Helen Richards. I spoke with one of the students Ta’Niya Johnson and she told me of her experience. She got the honor of meeting Clebe Mclary, who was in the hole with Johnson when the grenade went off due to being so close to the explosion he lost his fingers and one of is arms but he is still very grateful to be alive and thanks Johnson for that.