John Henry Pruitt was born in Fayetteville, Arkansas, on 4 October 1896. He enlisted as a private in the U.S. Marine Corps on 3 May 1917 and joined the 6th Regiment of Marines in July 1917. He went overseas with the 78th Company, 6th Regiment.
He participated in engagements with the enemy at Chateau-Thierry, Bouresches, and Belleau Wood before he was gassed 14 June 1918 and sent to a base hospital. Upon his recovery, he returned to the front and fought in the Marbache Sector, St. Mihiel, Thiaucourt, and later at Blanc Mont in the Champagne Sector. He was officially cited for bravery in action, near Thiaucourt, France, 15 September 1918, for aiding in the capture of an enemy machine gun.
Corporal Pruitt was mortally wounded in action at Blanc Mont on 3 October 1918 and died the following day. He was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for heroism during the battle that took his life.
Besides his citations, Cpl Pruitt was posthumously awarded both the Army and Navy Medals of Honor, French Croix de Guerre, and the Italian Cross of Military Valor.
The destroyer USS Pruitt (DD-347), launched 2 August 1920 at the Bath Iron Works, Bath, Maine, was named in his memory.
World War I 1917-1918 Medal of Honor