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Ernest August Janson, aka Charles F. Hoffman
World War I Army and Navy Medal of Honor recipient
Born (1878-08-17)August 17, 1878
Died May 14, 1930(1930-05-14) (aged 51)
Place of birth New York City, New York
Place of death Long Island, New York
Place of burial Evergreen Cemetery, Brooklyn, New York
Allegiance  United States
Service/branch United States Marine Corps
Years of service c1900-c1910 (US Army)
1910-1926 (USMC)
Rank Sergeant Major
Unit 5th Marine Regiment
Battles/wars World War I
Awards Army & Navy Medal of Honor
Medaille Militaire
Croix de Guerre
Croce di Guerra
Medalha da Cruz de Guerra
Silver Medal (Montenegro)

Sergeant Major Ernest August Janson (August 17, 1878 – May 14, 1930) was a United States Marine who was highly decorated for his heroic actions in World War I, receiving both the Army and Navy Medal of Honor[1] and the French Medaille Militaire, as well as decorations from Montenegro, Portugal, and Italy. During World War I he served under the name Charles F. Hoffman.

Biography[edit | edit source]

Ernest August Janson was born on August 17, 1878, in New York, New York. After nearly ten years of honorable service with the U.S. Army, he enlisted in the Marine Corps on June 14, 1910 at the Marine Barracks, Bremerton, Washington. He was appointed a corporal, March 14, 1911, and honorably discharged on June 13, 1914.

He re-enlisted on June 17, 1914, and was appointed a Sergeant on August 24, 1914. During this second enlistment, he served on the USS Nebraska from July 13, 1914 until January 30, 1915; on detached duty on the USS Montana from January 30, 1915 until February 6, 1915; on the USS Nebraska again from February 6, 1915 until October 22, 1916; and at Norfolk, Virginia, from October 22, 1916 until May 25, 1917.

World War I action[edit | edit source]

Sergeant Janson sailed for France on the USS DeKalb on June 14, 1917, and disembarked at St. Nazaire, France, June 27, 1917. Appointed a gunnery sergeant, a temporary warrant for the duration of the war, on July 1, 1917 he served honorably with the 49th Company, 5th Regiment, in its various activities.

Medal of Honor gallantry[edit | edit source]

On June 6, 1918, he was severely wounded in action. For his conspicuous service on that date, GySgt Janson was awarded both the Army and Navy Medals of Honor. The French Medaille Militaire, which carries the Croix de Guerre with Palm, the Montenegrin Silver Medal, the Portuguese Cruz de Guerra, and the Italian Croce di Guerra were also awarded to him for the same act of bravery.

In November 1918, he returned to the United States and was admitted to the Naval Hospital, New York, for treatment of the wounds received in action on June 6, 1918.

Post-WW I[edit | edit source]

At the expiration of his second enlistment, April 25, 1919, he was honorably discharged. He re-enlisted May 7, 1919, and served the full term of this enlistment as a recruiter at New York City.

Sergent Major Janson was selected and served as the Marine Corps pallbearer for the burial of the Unknown Soldier on Armistice Day, 1921.[2] He was honorably discharged on May 6, 1923.

His fourth-enlistment took place May 7, 1923, and he remained on recruiting duty until July 20, 1926, when he was transferred to Marine Barracks, Quantico, Virginia. On his return to duty at Quantico, he was reinstated to his wartime rank of gunnery sergeant and requested retirement the following month. He was advanced one grade to Sergeant Major on August 31, 1926, and placed on the retired list, September 30, 1926.

Sergeant Major Janson returned to New York and during his last years lived on Long Island. He died after a brief illness, May 14, 1930, and was buried in Evergreen Cemetery, Brooklyn, New York.

Medal of Honor citations[edit | edit source]

Army MOH

Gunnery Sergeant Janson was one of five Marines during World War I to be awarded both the Army and Navy Medals of Honor. Two Medals of Honor may no longer be given for a single incident.

Navy Medal of Honor

Rank and organization: Gunnery Sergeant, U.S. Marine Corps, 49th Company. (Served under name of Charles F. Hoffman) Born: August 17, 1878, New York, N.Y. Accredited to: New York. (Also received Army Medal of Honor.) Citation:

For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity above and beyond the call of duty in action with the enemy near Chateau-Thierry, France, 6 June 1918. Immediately after the company to which G/Sgt. Janson belonged, had reached its objective on Hill 142, several hostile counterattacks were launched against the line before the new position had been consolidated. G/Sgt. Janson was attempting to organize a position on the north slope of the hill when he saw 12 of the enemy, armed with 5 light machineguns, crawling toward his group. Giving the alarm, he rushed the hostile detachment, bayoneted the 2 leaders, and forced the others to flee, abandoning their guns. His quick action, initiative and courage drove the enemy from a position from which they could have swept the hill with machinegun fire and forced the withdrawal of our troops.

See also[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Military times double MOH recipient
  2. The New York Times (5 October 1921). "EIGHT PALLBEARERS NAMED: They Are Non-Commissioned Officers Decorated for Bravery in World War Actions". p. 16. 
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