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A CREATIVE HERO - 2nd Lieutenant Alexander Ramsey Nininger, USArmy, WWII, Medal of Honor, Philippines (1918-1942)

A CREATIVE HERO – 2nd Lieutenant Alexander Ramsey Nininger, USArmy, WWII, Medal of Honor, Philippines (1918-1942)

2nd Lt. Alexander R. Nininger, USArmy, WWII, Medal of Honor, Philippines

 BY DUANE A. VACHON, PH.D.  I have been writing about heroes and in particular heroes who have received the Medal of Honor for many years.  Despite all of the research I have done I have yet to develop any insight into what makes a person do what must be done in order to receive a Medal of Honor.  Alexander Ramsey Nininger is no exception to that rule.  In reality I would have thought him to be most unlikely to receive the Medal of Honor.  He liked classical music; he wrote poetry; he drew pictures; and he shared with a friend that he did not think he could hate anyone.

Nininger was born in Gainesville, Georgia in 1918 but grew up in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, where his father owned movie theaters.  At a very early age he picked up the nick name “Sandy” and was known by that name until his death. He graduated from the United States Military Academy in May 1941 and was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant.  Nininger’s first duty assignment was in the Philippines where he was attached to the 57th Infantry Regiment (United States) of the Philippine Scouts. During the first month of the Japanese invasion of the Philippines, Nininger's unit was involved in organizing the American defenses in Bataan. When the Japanese began their assault on Bataan, Nininger voluntarily joined another company because his unit was not yet engaged in combat

Nininger had become attached to Company K, of the 57th Infantry Regiment. That unit was being attacked by enemy force far 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 hand grenades 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 the recapture of the position, 1 enemy officer and 2 enemy soldiers lay dead around him.

Nininger was killed in action on January 12, 1942 near Abucay, Bataan. He was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for leading an assault on Japanese positions. He was the first American army soldier to be so honored in the Second World War.

 

 

 

Medal of Honor citation

Rank and organization: Second Lieutenant, 57th Infantry, Philippine Scouts, U.S. Army. Place and date: Near Abucay, Bataan, Philippine Islands, January 12, 1942. Entered service at: Fort Lauderdale, Fla. Born: Gainesville, Georgia.

Citation:

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 hand grenades 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.

 

2nd Lieutenant Alexander Ramsey Nininger is buried in Saint Dominic Parish Church Cemetery at Abucay, Bataan.  In 1949 his name was mistakenly engraved on the wall of the missing at the American Battlefield Monument Commission Cemetery (AMBC) in Manila, Philippine Islands.  He is also commemorated with cenopath memorials in the AMBC Cemetery and in Arlington National Cemetery.

The information in this article was sourced from a variety of sources both internal and external. Every effort was made to ensure that the information is current and correct. These articles are presented to honor the heroes they are written about.

 

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2 Comments for “A CREATIVE HERO - 2nd Lieutenant Alexander Ramsey Nininger, USArmy, WWII, Medal of Honor, Philippines (1918-1942)”

  1. While I honor and appreciate our veterans, I think we should have more respect for those who didn't make it and for the doctors of the army

  2. well, intelligence is about assimilation and adaptation. It seems like he was a very intelligent person.

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