Z SQUARE 7, A B-29 TRUE STORY

General Earl Johnson Biography

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Zachary Taylor Nat'l Cemetery Memorial Page - B29 Superfortress
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Ivan Fail's "D Day, The Normandy Invasion"
B-29 Crew Positions & Specifications
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C. Clayton Thompson Bookseller
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Lompoc Veterans Memorial Building with photo album
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Lt Raymond "Hap" Halloran
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Omori POW Camp
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Great Bend, Kansas B-29 Memorial
General Lemay's biography including a B-29 nose art photo album
THE GENERAL AND MRS CURTIS LEMAY FOUNDATION
March 9 and 10, 1945 Over Tokyo
Lt "Hap" Halloran on March 10, 1945
General Earl Johnson
General Earl Johnson Biography
313th Bomb Wing Mining Missions
Lt Robert Copeland, copilot, Z Square 8
Pyote Bomber Base With A Photo Album
History of "Diamond Lil" With A Photo Album
History of "FIFI" With A Photo Album
"Hap" Halloran induction Combat Airman Hall of Fame
Blackie Blackburn with a photo album
Hap's Memorable Flight On FIFI
C. Douglas Caffey, A WW2 Veteran, Book Of Poetry
C. Douglas Caffey Collection Of Poetry
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C. Douglas Caffey on Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
C. Douglas Caffey With More on PTSD
C. Douglas Caffey Memorial Day Flying The Flag
C. Douglas Caffey Saying Goodbye To America
OUR VETERANS NEED WORK!
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Cpl Ira Hayes, USMC
Battle of Okinawa
Okinawa Medals of Honor
Japanese Surrender
Navy Ships At Surrender Ceremonies
Ivan Fail's "The Saga Of The Superfortress"
Ivan Fail's "The Silent Sentries"
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March 9, 1945 bombers over Tokyo

General Johnson, a native of Crawfordsville, Ind., graduated from Crawfordsville High School in 1933 and from Wabash College in 1938 with a bachelor of arts degree. His military career began in January 1941 when he entered the Army Air Corps and entered flying training at Darr Aero Tech, Glenview, Ill. Six months later he received his pilot wings and commission as a second lieutenant at Maxwell Field, Ala.

During World War II, he served as a pilot instructor for a few months and was then sent to Turner Field, Ga., as a twin-engine flying instructor and later became a flying training squadron commander. In July 1942 he was named group operations officer with the Advanced Twin-Engine Flying School, Blytheville, Ark. Two years later he attended B-17 transition school at Lockbourne Air Base, Ohio, followed by B-29 training at McCook, Neb.

In January 1945 General Johnson left for North Field, Tinian Island, as operations officer for the 1st Bombardment Squadron of the 9th Bombardment Group. He took part in the first low-altitude fire bombing missions against Tokyo. Later, he was reassigned to the 313th Bombardment Wing and became responsible for theater training for the atomic bomb crews of the 509th Composite Group. This was followed by his advancement to Director of Operations for the 313th Bombardment Wing.

In October 1945 he was the lead aircraft commander of a flight of three B-29s flying from Guam to Washington, D.C., via Karachi, India, and Frankfurt, Germany. Upon his arrival in the United States, he was assigned to Second Air Force, Colorado Springs, Colo., where he stayed until December 1946 when he left active military service.

He was recalled to active duty in September 1948 and assigned to the Twentieth Air Force with headquarters on Guam. He served as director of flying safety and then as the inspector general. From July 1949 until January 1950 he commanded the 93rd Bombardment Squadron, also on Guam.

He then became the director of operations of the 9th Strategic Reconnaissance Group, Fairfield-Suisun Air Force Base, Calif. From June 1950 to July 1954, he served successively as commander of the 23rd Strategic Reconnaissance Squadron; chief of maintenance of the 5th Strategic Reconnaissance Wing; and then director of materiel for the 5th Bombardment Wing. In June 1954 he was assigned as a student in the Air War College and graduated in June 1955.

In July 1955 he was assigned to the Policy Division of the Directorate of Personnel Planning, Headquarters U.S. Air Force, Washington, D.C. During his four-year tour of duty in the Pentagon, he worked on major personnel legislation. From July through November 1959 he attended B-52 Transition School at Castle Air Force Base, Calif.

In December 1959 he was named the deputy commander for maintenance for the 72nd Bombardment Wing, Ramey Air Force Base, Puerto Rico, and in July 1960 became the vice commander. In June 1962 General Johnson assumed command of the 4135th Strategic Wing, Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., and in August 1963 he became the inspector general of the Eighth Air Force.

In November 1964 he went to McCoy Air Force Base, Fla., to assume duties as commander of the 306th Bombardment Wing. In September 1966 General Johnson and the wing were deployed to Andersen Air Force Base, Guam, to become part of the 4133rd Bombardment Wing (Provisional) with General Johnson as wing commander. Prior to his return to the United States in March 1967 he was decorated by the Republic of Vietnam Prime Minister Nguyen Cao Ky with the Republic of Vietnam Air Force Distinguished Service Order, First Class. The presentation was made on Guam during the conference between President Lyndon B. Johnson and Prime Minister Ky.

Upon completion of his temporary duty tour on Guam, General Johnson returned to McCoy Air Force Base until his assignment as commander, 823rd Air Division at Homestead Air Force Base, Fla., in July 1967. He returned to Guam in July 1968 as vice commander, Third Air Division, with headquarters at Andersen Air Force Base.

General Johnson was assigned as the assistant deputy chief of staff, operations, Headquarters Strategic Air Command, in April 1970.

His military decorations include the Legion of Merit with oak leaf cluster, Distinguished Flying Cross, Bronze Star Medal, Air Medal with two oak leaf clusters, Air Force Commendation Medal, Army Commendation Medal with oak leaf cluster and the Distinguished Unit Citation Emblem. He is a command pilot.

Major General Johnson retired on February 1, 1972.  



http://www.af.mil/bios/

 

 

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My favorite photo of Earl and his beloved Chipper. Earl would have been 94 on his birthday this year.  I enjoyed our personal visits and our many phone calls over the years.  There are many of his stories on my web site (http://b-29.org). I was always trying to get him to write a book.  He had some classics!

Earl will be sorely missed by me and any and all who knew him.  I hope that Chipper will be well taken care of as he was Earl's best friend.

I was told there would be a Memorial at Wabash College, his Alma Mater in Crawfordsville, IN but I do not have any details.  I plan on donating to a charity that will send help to Haiti in Earl's memory.

God Bless you Earl and I hope your last flight was peaceful!

Love,

Sallyann Wagoner

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Hi, Sallyann ...
 
Dad passed away two days ago on Thursday, Jan. 14 due to complications related to congestive heart failure.  He was 93. 
 
My husband and I just returned to Orlando early this morning to handle arrangements.  I have been living here with dad since last April and my husband was able to join me for three of those nine months.  We had just left by car last Tuesday to return to Southern California after spending a wonderful holiday with dad.  We were on the road two days, outside of Tucson, when dad's caregiver called us with the news.  Although dad had been under hospice care, he appeared to be stable and his primary hospice nurse considered taking him off of crisis care.  However, after we left, his health declined.  I can tell you he passed very peacefully with Chipper at his side.
 
We will be taking dad and Chipper to Crawfordsville, IN the following week.  Memorial and graveside services with military honors is being planned.  I'm awaiting word from Wabash College on the availability of the chapel for Saturday, Jan. 30.  As soon as I have the specifics ironed out, I will alert you.  Dad will be laid to rest next to my late mother, Peggy, at Oak Hill Cemetery.  Chipper will have a new home with my dad's sister, Helen Wynne, and my cousins, Judy and Bill.
 
Dad was a wonderful man.  Even to the end, he had such a sense of humor and had those around him laughing.  And, of course, his many stories were so interesting.
 
I will miss him terribly, but feel so blessed to have had a chance to spend quality time with him these past months.
 
Donna Dawson

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OrlandoSentinel.com

Earl L. Johnson: Major general met famous people in his adventures

By Willoughby Mariano, Orlando Sentinel

10:32 PM EST, January 19, 2010

Even as a boy, Earl L. Johnson had a knack for finding adventure.

At 12, he traveled to see famed pilot Amelia Earhart land her airplane in Indianapolis. Stanchions kept the crowd at bay, but they didn't hold back Johnson, his daughter, Donna Dawson, said. He crawled beneath them, dashed after the international celebrity, and asked her for her autograph.

Earhart patted his head.

"You're such a good little boy," she told Johnson.

By 1945, Johnson had become an Army Air Corps officer, flying a B-29 all over the globe. By 1970, he was a U.S. Air Force major general who had spent time with astronaut Neil Armstrong and President Dwight D. Eisenhower.

"Dad had a great life," Dawson said.

Johnson died Thursday at his Orlando home of complications from congestive heart failure. He was 93.

Born April 27, 1916, Johnson grew up in Crawfordsville, Ind., about 40 miles outside Indianapolis. He attended high school and college in his hometown, graduating from Wabash College in 1938.

In January 1941, Johnson entered the U.S. Army Air Corps, the forerunner of the Air Force.

Johnson was a mischievous man who never did follow the rules, his daughter said. Still, Johnson's military career blossomed. He served as a pilot instructor and later became mission commander in the first low-altitude bombing missions on Tokyo. Later, he was in charge of training crews that dropped the atomic bomb.

Johnson left active military service after World War II, but returned in September 1948 to serve in Guam as director of flying safety and inspector general. He acquired a habit of running into famous people.

As a young Air Force officer, Johnson ran into famed aviator Charles Lindbergh at a dinner party. Soon afterward, he ended up in a military jeep with the aviation pioneer at the wheel, stuck in the middle of a stream. A group of children helped push them out.

While in Guam, Johnson also met his wife-to-be, Peggy Ruth Hearn of LaGrange, Ga., an accountant and avid golfer who shared his taste for adventure.

They married in 1950 in San Francisco. Dawson, their only child, was born in 1951. They joined Johnson on his adventures.

"I never knew who was going to be at the house," Dawson recalled.

After the first lunar landing, astronaut Neil Armstrong spent time at their house. It had been months since Armstrong had seen his family, and the astronaut sat in the Johnsons' music room, tearing up as he listened to a tape his children sent them.

Johnson spent time with Bob Hope and watched the comedian swing his golf club beneath the wing of a bomber.

In 1960, the family visited President Eisenhower at the White House. Dawson toured the building with the president's grandchildren.

"Dad accused me of jumping up and down on Lincoln's bed. But I didn't," Dawson said.

Then there was Johnson's pet rooster Charlie, who lived in a coop on the family's back porch while they were stationed in Orlando. His crowing interrupted a formal dinner the Johnsons were hosting for a general, so Johnson brought the rooster inside to greet his guests.

Charlie sat with them on the back of a dining room chair, Dawson recalled.

"You know what?" the general said afterward. "That was the best dinner party I ever attended."

While Johnson was stationed in Orlando, he helped turn what was then McCoy Air Force Base into Orlando International Airport. He retired here in the 1970s and built Orange Tree Country Club in the Dr. Phillips area.

Johnson later bought and sold commercial property along International Drive and became a regular at the Bay Hill Country Club.

"Where ya from?" he would ask newcomers, Dawson said.

Peggy Ruth Johnson died in 2001, and Earl Johnson's health declined. About nine months ago, Dawson traveled from her home in Redlands, Calif., to take care of him.

Earl Johnson entered hospice care about a month ago, but he seemed to rally. Dawson made plans to drive home.

"Are you going to be OK in the future?" Johnson asked before his daughter left.

"Dad, don't worry about me. I'm going to be fine," she replied.

While she was outside Tucson, Ariz., Dawson received a call telling her that her father had died.

"I almost feel he waited for me to leave," Dawson said.

In addition to Dawson, Johnson is survived by granddaughters Karen McClain of Yucaipa, Calif., Kim Dawson of Beaumont, Calif.,, and Kelly Brady of San Jose, Calif.; and five great-grandchildren.

Johnson will be buried with military honors at Oak Hill Cemetery in Crawfordsville.

Baldwin-Fairchild Funeral Home, in the Orlando area, is in charge of arrangements.


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In Memory of General Earl Johnson


January 18, 2010

Major General Earl L. "Punk" Johnson (USAF, Retired) passed away at his home in Orlando, FL on Thursday, January. 14. He was 93.
 
A memorial service will take place at 2 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 30 in the Wabash College Chapel. Johnson will be laid to rest at Oak Hill Cemetery in Crawfordsville, IN with military honors.
 
His military career began in January 1941 when he entered the Army Air Corps and entered flying training at Darr Aero Tech, Glenview, IL. Six months later he received his pilot wings and commission as a second lieutenant at Maxwell Field, AL.
 
During World War II, he served as a pilot instructor and was then sent to Turner Field, GA, as a twin-engine flying instructor and later became a flying training squadron commander. In July 1942, he was named group operations officer with the Advanced Twin-Engine Flying School, Blytheville, AK. Two years later, he attended B-17 transition school at Lockbourne Air Base, OH, followed by B-29 training at McCook, NB. 

In January 1945, Johnson left for North Field, Tinian Island, as operations officer for the 1st Bombardment Squadron of the 9th Bombardment Group. He served as mission commander in the first low-altitude fire bombing missions against Tokyo. Later, he was reassigned to the 313th Bombardment Wing and became responsible for theater training for the atomic bomb crews of the 509th Composite Group. This was followed by his advancement to Director of Operations for the 313th Bombardment Wing. 

In October 1945, he was the lead aircraft commander of a flight of three B-29s flying from Guam to Washington, D.C., via Karachi, India, and Frankfurt, Germany. Upon his arrival in the United States, he was assigned to Second Air Force, Colorado Springs, CO, where he stayed until December 1946 when he left active military service. 

He was recalled to active duty in September 1948 and assigned to the Twentieth Air Force with headquarters on Guam. He served as director of flying safety and then as the inspector general. From July 1949 until January 1950 he commanded the 93rd Bombardment Squadron, also on Guam. 

Johnson became the director of operations of the 9th Strategic Reconnaissance Group, Fairfield-Suisun AFB, CA. From June 1950 to July 1954, he served as commander of the 23rd Strategic Reconnaissance Squadron; chief of maintenance of the 5th Strategic Reconnaissance Wing; and then director of materiel for the 5th Bombardment Wing. In June 1954, he was assigned as a student in the Air War College and graduated in June 1955. 

In July 1955, Johnson was assigned to the Policy Division of the Directorate of Personnel Planning, Headquarters U.S. Air Force, Washington, D.C. During his four-year tour of duty in the Pentagon, he worked on major personnel legislation. From July through November 1959 he attended B-52 Transition School at Castle Air Force Base, CA. 

The following month, he was named the deputy commander for maintenance for the 72nd Bombardment Wing, Ramey AFB, Puerto Rico. In July 1960, became the vice wing commander. Johnson assumed command of the 4135th Strategic Wing, Eglin AFB, FL in June 1962 and in August 1963 he moved to Westover AFB, MA to become the inspector general of the Eighth Air Force 

In November 1964 he went to McCoy AFB in Orlando, to assume duties as commander of the 306th Bombardment Wing. In September 1966 Johnson and the wing were deployed to Andersen AFB, Guam, to become part of the 4133rd Bombardment Wing (Provisional) with Johnson as wing commander. Prior to his return to the United States in March 1967 he was decorated by the Republic of Vietnam Prime Minister Nguyen Cao Ky with the Republic of Vietnam Air Force Distinguished Service Order, First Class. The presentation was made on Guam during the conference between President Lyndon B. Johnson and Prime Minister Ky.
 
Upon completion of his temporary duty tour on Guam, Johnson returned to McCoy AFB.
It was during Johnson’s command at McCoy that he and Under Secretary of the Air Force Lew Turner collaborated with Orlando Mayor Carl Langford to allow commercial airlines to utilize McCoy’s runways when not in use by B-52 and KC-135 squadrons. At the time, Orlando didn’t have an airport that could accommodate large jets.
 
This collaborative effort was also in response to Walt Disney’s plans to build Walt Disney World. McCoy AFB closed in 1972 and the property was sold to the City of Orlando for one dollar. The former base would eventually become the site of today’s Orlando International Airport.
 
Following his assignment at McCoy, Johnson became commander, 823rd Air Division at Homestead Air Force Base, Fla., in July 1967. He returned to Guam in July 1968 as vice commander, Third Air Division, with headquarters at Andersen AFB. 

Johnson was assigned as the assistant deputy chief of staff, operations, Headquarters Strategic Air Command, at Offutt AFB, NB in April 1970. The next month, he was promoted to major general.
 
He retired from the Air Force in February 1972 after 31 years of service. His military decorations included the Legion of Merit with oak leaf cluster, Distinguished Flying Cross, Bronze Star Medal, Air Medal with two oak leaf clusters, Air Force Commendation Medal, Army Commendation Medal with oak leaf cluster and the Distinguished Unit Citation Emblem. He was a command pilot.
 
Following his retirement, Johnson returned to Orlando where he built Orange Tree Country Club for a group of Michigan-based developers. He became a real estate broker, specializing in commercial properties, and later established Real Property International, Inc.
 
In March 1995, Johnson was invited to address the Foreign Correspondents in Tokyo, Japan during the 50th anniversary of the fire bombing missions against Tokyo. His moving account of the dangerous mission and aftermath appeared on CNN, NBC, ABC and CBS. During one interview on CNN, Johnson appeared alongside a Japanese woman who had lost her entire family during the bombing he lead. She presented him with a small origami crane symbolizing honor and loyalty.
 
In May 2008, Johnson received his honorary doctorate degree from Wabash College, 70 years after receiving his BA degree.

Johnson married Peggy Ruth Hearn of LaGrange, GA in May 1950. She passed away in Orlando in 2001.Johnson is survived by a daughter, Donna Dawson of Redlands, CA; granddaughters, Karen McClain of Yucaipa, CA, Kim Dawson of Beaumont, CA, and Kelly Brady of San Jose, CA; and five great grandchildren.
 
 
   

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MG Earl Johnson's  9th Bombardment Group (9th BG) comrade-in arms

have nice memories of General Earl Johnson from over a sixty-five year span of time.

First, in our training at McCook, Nebraska and then our wartime experiences

together against Japan during 1945.    As comrade-in-arms,  fully expecting to die

together on a combat mission, we in later life continued a close bond coming together at annual reunions as a 9th BG Association.

General Johnson contributed greatly to the high success of the9th BG during the war and afterwards in our 9th BG Association activities.

9th BG Members

 
 
 
The 9th BG tribute follows.
 
 

T R I B U T E

by

his WWII Comrade-in-Arms

 

We members of the 9th Bombardment Group (9th BG) remember MG Earl Johnson as a very capable and pleasant person.  Our association began during B-29 training at McCook, Nebraska during the latter part of 1944.  Then it was to Tinian in the Marianna’s fifteen hundred miles from Japan. 

General Johnson, then a major, was assigned to 9th BG headquarters as the Group Training Officer.   General Johnson, as a Group staff officer, flew with a number of squadron crews on many combat missions.  More, in fact, that a Group staff member would normally do.  As one of the more senior officers he often had an important part in the launch of the bomber stream.  On some missions he was the launch officer at one of the runways.  He observed that the preceding B-29 had successfully cleared the runway and then checked the next B-29 in the takeoff position for its correct takeoff configuration (a flap setting of 25 degrees was necessary for the takeoff).  Then at the briefed second dropped his flag indicating “clear to takeoff”.  On one occasion, he observed that the B-29  “Thunderin’ Loretta” had crashed thus closing the runway.  Ten of the eleven Caldwell crewmembers died.

General Johnson contributed an excellent story ”Memories of Tinian” for the 9th BG History Book about Tinian’s known history from its beginning to conditions after the war.  It can be accessed in Chapter 14, page 294, of the 9th BG History Book at   www.9thbombgrouphistory.org

He also contributed his story of an Around-the-World flight.  During the early 1945 deployment overseas, he flew from California to Hawaii, then to Kwajalein, and next to Tinian.  He completed this Around- the-World trip in October of 1945 as part of a group of three B-29s flying from Guam to Karachi, India, Frankfurt, Germany, and landing at the National airport in Washington  D.C.   Several of these flights were of twenty hour duration.   With 1945 era reciprocating engines and lack of navigation aids, this was a very eventful flight.  The story “Guam to Washington” can be accessed on page 296 of the history book.   General Johnson told his stories with humor once describing the Pacific Ocean as looking the same from California to China.

At 9th BG Comrade-in-Arms annual reunions and other activities, he was active and generous in his support.  On one occasion, he enabled the deceased 1st and 99th Squadron Commanders and the Group Chaplain for their names to be engraved in bronze and placed at the Air Force Academy Honor Court.   Although as an Air Force Major General used to making high level command decisions and enacting discipline, he had a human touch.  One member stated “My husband and I had a long conversation with him and what a nice man he was.  It was hours later before we found out that he was a two star General.  May God bless him”.   All of us who knew General Johnson had similar thoughts.

 

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