Alexander Nininger, 1st WW II Medal of Honor Recipient

NiningerAlexander Ramsey (Sandy) Nininger, USMA 1941, is a name known to many at the Military Academy. Alexander Nininger became the first World War II Medal of Honor recipient, as well as the first casualty in his class, dying on January 12th 1942 just seven months after graduating from the Academy.

Nininger’s Medal of Honor Award reads in part: [He] voluntarily attached himself to Company K, same regiment, while that unit was being attacked by enemy force superior in fire power. Enemy snipers in trees and fox holes had stopped a counter-attack to regain part of [the] position. In hand-to-hand fighting which followed, Lieutenant 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 fox holes and enemy snipers. Although wounded three 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, one enemy officer and two enemy soldiers lay dead around him.

Nininger Hall, which houses the Simon Center for the Professional Military Ethic in the center of the Cadet Area, provides a daily reminder to cadets and faculty of the core values of the Academy and its graduates.  In addition to Nininger Hall, we remember Alexander Nininger with a collection of books and pamphlets on Bataan and Corregidor housed within the Library’s Special Collections and Archives Division. These materials, collected by Nininger’s nephew, John Patterson, are for use by cadets, faculty and those interested in the study of World War II in the Pacific. (A complete listing of the Nininger Collection is available via the Library Catalog.)

Contents contributed by Elaine McConnell, Rare Book Curator