Alexander Ramsey Nininger, Jr. was born in Gainesville, Georgia on October 20, 1918 and died January 12, 1942. He attended the United States Military Academy and graduated in May 1941.
For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity above and beyond the call of duty in action with the enemy near Abucay, Bataan, Philippine Islands, on 12 January 1942. This officer, though assigned to another company not then engaged in combat, voluntarily attached himself to Company K, same regiment, while that unit was being attacked by enemy force superior in firepower. Enemy snipers in trees and foxholes had stopped a counterattack to regain part of position. In hand-to-hand fighting which followed, 2d Lt. Nininger repeatedly forced his way to and into the hostile position. Though exposed to heavy enemy fire, he continued to attack with rifle and handgrenades and succeeded in destroying several enemy groups in foxholes and enemy snipers. Although wounded 3 times, he continued his attacks until he was killed after pushing alone far within the enemy position. When his body was found after recapture of the position, 1 enemy officer and 2 enemy soldiers lay dead around him.
Commissioned a Lieutenant, he was sent to the Philippines and was attached to the 57th U. S. Infantry Regiment of the Philippine Scouts. After entering active service, according to Malcolm Gladwell, Nininger "wrote a friend to say that he had no feelings of hate, and did not think he could ever kill anyone out of hatred. He had none of the swagger of the natural warrior. He worked hard and had a strong sense of duty.
He was the first soldier to receive the Medal of Honor in World War II.
Medals and Awards
Medal of Honor
Purple Heart with 2 Oak Leaf Clusters
The First Division of Cadet Barracks at West Point is named in his honor.
Two transport ships were named in honor of Nininger:
His home town of Ft. Lauderdale, Florida also erected a statue in his honor.
Nininger was a member of Key Club International and annually that organization awards the "Sandy Nininger Award" to high school seniors throughout America who exemplify his character. Over 500 awards have been given in his honor.
He is buried in the Manila American Cemetery and Memorial in the Phillipines.
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