Col Gerald Richard Johnson

Col Gerald Richard Johnson

Birth
Akron, Summit County, Ohio, USA
Death 7 Oct 1945 (aged 25)
At Sea
Memorial Site* Honolulu, Honolulu County, Hawaii, USA

* A structure erected in honor of someone whose remains lie elsewhere.

Plot Courts of the Missing
Memorial ID 56112091 · View Source
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Gerald Richard Johnson was one of five children born to Harold Victor Johnson, Sr. (1895-1975) and Hazel Irene Johnson (1896-1982). He was also a twin to Harold Victor Johnson, Jr., each of them born on June 23rd, 1920 in Akron, Sumit County, Ohio. His other brothers were Ralph W. Johnson and Arthur C. Johnson. He also had a sister named Juanita. In 1936 the family moved to Eugene, Lane County, Oregon. Both Gerald and Harold were members of the Eugene High School Class of 1938. Gerald was an attendant at the Dept. of Agriculture in the Summer of 1940. With America's entry into World War II, Gerald, Harold and Ralph all entered the Armed Forces. Both Gerald and Harold flew with the Army Air Corps, which became known as the Air Force. Ralph served with the Infantry. Gerald married his sweetheart, Barbara Hall of Eugene, on June 1st, 1945, during his leave at home. He had become quite well known in the Eugene, Oregon area as one of the leading aces in the Air Force's Pacific Theater, credited with downing 22 Japanese planes. He had attained the rank of Colonel and been decorated with the oak leaf cluster to the distinguished service cross, as well as the silver star, and others. He and his men had piloted planes that had been dropping mercy supply packages to American and Allied prisoners in Japanese prison camps during the war. His plane went missing Oct 7th, 1945 while on a flight from le Shima Airfield, off the Northwest coast of Okinawa, Ryukyu Islands, to Atsugi Airfield on Southeast mainland Japan, Southwest of Tokyo. His route was mainly over the ocean when a typhoon had suddenly swept over the area.
** His poor parents and wife learned of this after it had been announced over the radio a few days later. Poor weather hampered the search, but the Armed Forces continued to search for Colonel Johnson's plane for a time before finally declaring him lost. He had received his wings at Luke Field, Phoenix, Arizona in November, 1941. His name, rank and date of demise are listed at the Honolulu Memorial in Honolulu, Hawaii as no remains were ever recovered, so no burial ever took place, stateside.
Gerald "Jed" Johnson was lost in the war, but his two brothers made it home alive. His widow, a nurse, raised the son he never got to meet, and eventually remarried, becoming the mother of four more children. His parents, brothers and sister all led exemplary lives. Each of the memorials are worth reading as his parents and brothers are no longer with us but I know they have been reunited with Jed, however, as is promised by Our Lord. May they all Rest in Peace.

**Please note, Important Update: I was wrongly advised that the photo was not of Colonel Johnson, when it indeed is a photo from his squadron's web site. Col. Johnson was a proud member of the 7th Fighter Squadron of the 5th Air Force. He had joined the 49th Fighter Group in the Southwest Pacific during the War, following flying 56 combat missions while stationed in the Aleutian Islands during the Aleutians Campaign and further training at Fighter Command School at Orlando, Florida. He had joined the 49th Group in March, 1943 for the remainder of the War. Among other things, he had served as Deputy Commanding Officer of the 49th Group during the war and had flown many missions. Following the surrender of Japan, he was awaiting a likely congressional appointment to the rank of General when he was caught in a sudden typhoon which swept over the area. Three of his crew safely bailed out over land, then Col. Johnson tried to ditch the B-25 Mitchell he was flying near a small island, but he and the co-pilot died when the plane slammed into heavy seas and sank from sight, per the 7th Fighter Squadron Reunion website. As mentioned before, his remains were never recovered.
In his memory, The JAAF Air Station at Irumagawa was renamed Johnson Air Force Base. He left behind a widow and a son. Colonel Johnson was credited with 22 aerial victories and was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross with Oak Leaf Cluster, Silver Star, Legion of Merit, Distinguished Flying Cross with 5 Oak Leaf Clusters and the Air Medal with 11 Oak Leaf Clusters.
14 April 2014


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Gravesite Details Entered the service from Oregon.
  • Maintained by: Kathie L. Webb Blair
  • Originally Created by: War Graves
  • Added: 6 Aug 2010
  • Find a Grave Memorial 56112091
  • Kathie L. Webb Blair
  • Find a Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Col Gerald Richard Johnson (23 Jun 1920–7 Oct 1945), Find a Grave Memorial no. 56112091, citing Honolulu Memorial, Honolulu, Honolulu County, Hawaii, USA ; Maintained by Kathie L. Webb Blair (contributor 47399339) .