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Gen Harold K Johnson

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Gen Harold K Johnson

  • Birth 22 Feb 1912 Bowesmont, Pembina County, North Dakota, USA
  • Death 24 Sep 1983 Washington, District of Columbia, District Of Columbia, USA
  • Burial Arlington, Arlington County, Virginia, USA
  • Plot Section 30 Lot 430-2
  • Memorial ID 6609052

US Army General. A combat veteran of World War II and the Korean War, he rose in rank to become the 24th US Army Chief of Staff. Born Harold Keith Johnson, after completing high school in 1929, he received an appointment to attend the US Military Academy at West Point, New York and graduated in June 1933 with a commission as a 2nd lieutenant in the Infantry. He then served in several stateside infantry regiments along with attending the US Army Infantry School at Fort Benning, Georgia until 1940, when he was sent to the Philippines and assigned to the 57th Infantry at Fort McKinley. After the US declared war on Japan in December 1941, the Japanese invaded the Philippines and he was one of the American soldiers who surrendered at Bataan in April 1942 and was subject to brutality of the Japanese soldiers during the Bataan Death March. He remained a prisoner-of-war in the Philippines until December 1944 when he was transferred to Japan. During the journey, the ship that transported him was sunk by American fighter aircraft and he managed to survive. He eventually ended up in a Japanese prisoner-of-war camp in Korea where he was liberated in September 1945 by the US Army's 7th Division. After returning to the US, he attended the US Army Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas in August 1946 and remained there as an instructor for two years. In 1949 he attended the Armed (now Joint) Forces Staff College at Norfolk, Virginia and was then assigned to Fort Devens, Massachusetts as Commanding Officer for the 3rd Battalion, 7th Infantry and while there, he organized the 1st Provincial Infantry Battalion. When the Korean War broke out in 1950, he was sent to Korea with his new unit and saw combat action in the defense of the Pusan Perimeter and was promoted to the rank of colonel. Following a short tour as Assistant Chief of Staff for Operations, 1st Corps in Japan, he returned to the US and served in the Office of the Chief of Army Field Forces at Fort Monroe, Virginia. In 1952 he attended the National War College at Fort McNair, Virginia and was assigned to the Office of the Assistant Chief of Staff for Operations in Washington DC. In 1956 he was promoted to the rank of brigadier general and became the Assistant Commander of the 8th Infantry Division at Fort Carson, Colorado and moved with them to Germany. In 1957 he was promoted to the rank of major general became Chief of Staff for 7th Army Headquarters at Stuttgart-Vaihingen, Germany and two years later he was assigned to Headquarters US Army Europe as the Assistant Chief of Staff for Operations. In December 1959 he became the Chief of Staff, Central Army Group at the North Atlantic Treaty Organization Headquarters in Brussels, Belgium. In 1960 he returned to the US and became Commandant of the US Army Command and General Staff College. In February 1963 he was promoted to the rank of lieutenant general and became the Assistant Deputy Chief of Staff (and later the Deputy Chief of Staff) for Military Operations at Headquarters US Army in Washington DC. In July 1964 he was promoted to the rank of general and was appointed US Army Chief of Staff. While in this position, he helped to create the office of the Sergeant Major of the Army as a way to improve the quality of life for enlisted soldiers. In 1967 he served briefly as acting Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff while General Earle Wheeler was on medical leave. In July 1968 he retired with 35 years of continuous military service. Among his military and foreign decorations and awards include the Distinguished Service Cross, the Distinguished Service Medal (with one oak leaf cluster), the Legion of Merit (with three oak leaf clusters), the Bronze Star, the Army Presidential Unit Citation (with two oak leaf clusters), the Prisoner of War Medal, the American Defense Service Medal (with one bronze service star), the American Campaign Medal, the Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal (with four service stars), the World War II Victory Medal, the National Defense Service Medal (with one oak leaf cluster), the Korean Service Medal (with six campaign stars), the Republic of Korea Order of National Security Merit Medal, the Philippine Defense Medal, the Philippine Liberation Medal (with star), the Philippines Presidential Unit Citation, the Republic of Korea Presidential Unit Citation, and the United Nations Service Medal (Korea). After his military retirement, he led the Freedom Foundation at Valley Forge, Pennsylvania for three years and the worked as a banking executive. He died at the age of 71. He was the subject of the biography "Honorable Warrior: General Harold K. Johnson and the Ethics of Command" (1998) by Lewis Sorley.

Bio by: William Bjornstad

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  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Originally Created by: Bill Heneage
  • Added: 16 Jul 2002
  • Find A Grave Memorial 6609052
  • Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Gen Harold K Johnson (22 Feb 1912–24 Sep 1983), Find A Grave Memorial no. 6609052, citing Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington, Arlington County, Virginia, USA ; Maintained by Find A Grave .