Awarded for actions during the World War II
The President of the United States of America takes pleasure in presenting the Navy Cross to Captain William David Johnson, United States Navy, for extraordinary heroism and distinguished service in the line of his profession as Commanding Officer of the Escort Carrier U.S.S. SUWANEE (CVE-27), while that vessel was engaged in furnishing aerial support to our Amphibious Attack Groups landing on the shores of Leyte Gulf, Philippine Islands, from 18 to 27 October 1944. With his ship severely damaged by enemy aerial attack during the Battle off Samar Island, on 25 October, Captain Johnson continued to operate his ship with outstanding professional skill, directing numerous vigorous aerial strikes against the Japanese Fleet in Leyte Gulf and thereby contributing to the extensive and costly damage inflicted on hostile surface units. Although seriously wounded, he skillfully maneuvered his crippled ship through hazardous submarine infested waters and effected a safe withdrawal from the combat area. By his forceful leadership, and superb tactical ability, Captain Johnson was in large measure responsible for the success of our forces during this decisive engagement and his steadfast devotion to duty throughout these hazardous operations was in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.
General Orders: Commander 7th Fleet: Serial 0195
Action Date: October 18 - 27, 1944
Company: Commanding Officer
Division: U.S.S. Suwanee (CVE-27)