b. 20/10/1918 Gainesville, Georgia. d. 12/01/1942 Abucay, Bataan, Philippines.
DATE OF MOH ACTION: 12/01/1942 Abucay, Bataan, Philippines.
Nininger, nicknamed "Sandy", was born in Gainesville, Georgia in 1918. He attended the United States Military Academy and graduated in May 1941. After being commissioned a Lieutenant he was sent to the Philippines and was attached to the 57th Infantry Regiment (United States) 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." Nininger loved to draw pictures.
During the first month of the Japanese invasion of the Philippines, Nininger's unit helped prepare American defenses in Bataan. After the Japanese launched their assault on Bataan, Nininger voluntarily joined another company because his unit was not yet engaged in combat.
Nininger was killed in action near Abucay, Bataan on January 12, 1942. 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.
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.
BURIAL LOCATION: NO KNOWN GRAVE. IMO AT ARLINGTON NATIONAL CEMETERY.
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