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Kenneth Richard Johnson

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Kenneth Richard Johnson

Birth
Death
29 Aug 2015 (aged 77)
Burial
Arlington, Arlington County, Virginia, USA GPS-Latitude: 38.8779297, Longitude: -77.0611343
Plot
Section 57
Memorial ID
View Source
Johnson died Aug. 29 after a year of failing health. He was 77. Johnson was a highly decorated pilot with the U.S. Air Force, where he earned a Silver Star Medal for heroism and numerous other commendations during his 24 years of service, which included two combat tours in Vietnam and 453 days as a prisoner of war.
Johnson graduated from Minneapolis Roosevelt High School, where he played trombone in the school band and was part of a garage band called the Commodores. In 1955 he enlisted in the Minnesota Air National Guard, then gained his honorable discharge to enroll at the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado. He received his commission as a 2nd lieutenant in June 1961.
After completing undergraduate pilot training and earning his wings at Moody Air Force Base in Georgia, he got his first assignment as an F-100 pilot with the 494th Tactical Fighter Squadron. His career featured two combat tours in Vietnam and included flight instructor duties. He flew more than 250 missions, often under heavy enemy fire. He was recognized for his skill and bravery with two Distinguished Flying Crosses, two Bronze Stars, 15 Air Medals, two Air Force Commendations, two Purple Hearts and the Silver Star, the third-highest military decoration for valor awarded to members of the U.S. Armed Forces.
Johnson was delivering munitions with the 555th Tactical Fighter Squadron on Dec. 18, 1971, when his F-4D became disabled over North Vietnam, and he and his navigator were forced to eject. He was captured and held in Hanoi until he was released on March 14, 1973.
Ken Johnson retired from the Air Force in 1985. After that he held positions with Boeing Vertol, which is now part of the American aircraft manufacturer’s division responsible for defense and aerospace products and services. He also worked for American Bonanza Society and the Flight Safety Corp.
Johnson died Aug. 29 after a year of failing health. He was 77. Johnson was a highly decorated pilot with the U.S. Air Force, where he earned a Silver Star Medal for heroism and numerous other commendations during his 24 years of service, which included two combat tours in Vietnam and 453 days as a prisoner of war.
Johnson graduated from Minneapolis Roosevelt High School, where he played trombone in the school band and was part of a garage band called the Commodores. In 1955 he enlisted in the Minnesota Air National Guard, then gained his honorable discharge to enroll at the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado. He received his commission as a 2nd lieutenant in June 1961.
After completing undergraduate pilot training and earning his wings at Moody Air Force Base in Georgia, he got his first assignment as an F-100 pilot with the 494th Tactical Fighter Squadron. His career featured two combat tours in Vietnam and included flight instructor duties. He flew more than 250 missions, often under heavy enemy fire. He was recognized for his skill and bravery with two Distinguished Flying Crosses, two Bronze Stars, 15 Air Medals, two Air Force Commendations, two Purple Hearts and the Silver Star, the third-highest military decoration for valor awarded to members of the U.S. Armed Forces.
Johnson was delivering munitions with the 555th Tactical Fighter Squadron on Dec. 18, 1971, when his F-4D became disabled over North Vietnam, and he and his navigator were forced to eject. He was captured and held in Hanoi until he was released on March 14, 1973.
Ken Johnson retired from the Air Force in 1985. After that he held positions with Boeing Vertol, which is now part of the American aircraft manufacturer’s division responsible for defense and aerospace products and services. He also worked for American Bonanza Society and the Flight Safety Corp.

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