Saturday, August 27, 2016

PFC Brutus C. Johnson

PFC Brutus C. Johnson was born 12 May 1920 in Clark County, Kentucky to James and Pearl (Thomas) Johnson. The family lived in the states of Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky and Ohio as they moved from farm to farm.  The family all worked to support as many as 9 in the household.  In 1940, Brutus was reported as living with his oldest brother in Madison, Ohio but he was in the Civilian Conservation Corps.  In 1939 he was apparently working at Yellowstone National Park and risked his life for another worker.
The Carnegie hero fund commission, In recognition of the death, of William L. Nelson while attempting to rescue a companion from suffocation, tonight awarded bronze medals to three persons, including Nelson's mother, Mrs. Jean Crow of Gardiner, Mont. The other hero citation awards went to Brutus C. Johnson, West Middleton, Ohio, and Vaughn M. Roley, Plymouth, Calif. Nelson, 21-year-old laborer, died while trying to rescue Roley, also 21, from suffocation at Mammoth Hot Springs, AVyo., June 26, 1939, the commission found. Roley entered a 27-foot test hole in which hydrogen sulphide gas was present. Almost immediately he called to Nelson and another youth to pull him out, and then he became unconscious, his legs resting in a bucket to which a rope was attached. Nelson, th'e commission found, slid down the rope, took hold of Roley, raised him somewhat, and then became unconscious. The other youth carefully raised Roley to the top and pulled him from the hole. Brutus C. Johnson, 19, a civilian conservation corps enrollee, who had been told there was gas in the hole, reached the scene and with a rope around his chest was lowered to the bottom. He tried to slip a loop of a rope over Nelson's leg but was overcome. He was pulled from the hole and was revived. Roley meanwhile had revived. Tying a rope around his chest and holding his breath, he was lowered to Nelson. He looped the other rope over Nelson's leg and then was pulled to the surface. Nelson was brought to the surface and was revived, but he died the following day from effects of the gas.

Brutus was drafted in March 1943 and was transferred from the replacement depot to C Company 116th Infantry on 10 Jul 1944.  He was killed in action on 27 Aug 1944.

PFC Johnson is apparently not buried in the overseas American Cemeteries (most likely this would have been at Cambridge or the Brittany American Cemetery) so it is likely that he was repatriated.  However, none of his records seem to have survived and they may have been destroyed in the 1973 records fire so we don't know where he is buried.  

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