JOHNSON, HAROLD  EUGENE

Name: Harold Eugene Johnson
Rank/Branch: O3/United States Air Force
Unit: 357th TFS
Date of Birth: 31 July 1936
Home City of Record: Blakesburg IA
Date of Loss: 30 April 1967
Country of Loss: North Vietnam
Loss Coordinates: 211800 North  1045900 East
Status (in 1973): Returnee
Category:
Aircraft/Vehicle/Ground: F105F
Missions: 93

Other Personnel in Incident: Leo Thorsness, returnee

Source: Compiled by P.O.W. NETWORK from one or more of the following: raw
data from U.S. Government agency sources, correspondence with POW/MIA
families, published sources, interviews.

REMARKS: 730304 RELEASED BY DRV


SOURCE: WE CAME HOME  copyright 1977
Captain and Mrs. Frederic A Wyatt (USNR Ret), Barbara Powers Wyatt, Editor
P.O.W. Publications, 10250 Moorpark St., Toluca Lake, CA 91602
Text is reproduced as found in the original publication (including date and
spelling errors).
UPDATE - 09/95 by the P.O.W. NETWORK, Skidmore, MO
                      
HAROLD E. JOHNSON
Major - United States Air Force
Shot Down: April 30, 1967
Released: March 4, 1973
                      
Major Harold Eugene Johnson, the eldest son of Mr. and Mrs. Verlin E.
Johnson, was born on July 31, 1936 in Ottumwa, Iowa.  He was raised on a
farm near a small farming community of Blakesburg, Iowa, and graduated from
Blakesburg High School in 1954. In high school he participated in varsity
basketball and baseball and sang in the boy's chorus and quartet. He
attended the University  of Louisville, Kentucky, graduating with a BA in
Math in August of 1960. While at the university,  was a member of Delta
Upsilon Fraternity and held many  offices, including President in 1959. He
entered Air Force Officers Training School (OTS) program  and received  a
commission as a Second Lieutenant on March 28, 1961. He received  Navigator
rating at  Harlingen, AFB, Texas, December 1961 and then went to Electronic
Warfare Officer training at Mather AFB, California,  graduating in October
1962.

After completing the Air Force survival training at Stead AFB Nevada he was
assigned as staff Electronic Warfare Officer at Sioux City Air Defense Sector
Sioux City Air Base lowa and served in assignment  from December 1962 to
December 1965. He was then assigned as staff Electronic Warfare Officer to the
29th Air Division (later 10th Air Force Hdqtrs) at Richards - Gebaur AFB
Missouri. On August 16, 1966 he received orders to Southeast Asia. He was
assigned to the F-105F "Wild Weasel" surface-to-air  (SAM)  killer group at
Nellis AFB Nevada.

Major Johnson was crewed with Major Leo K. Thorness and they trained and
flew all combat missions over North Vietnam together. He was  flying on his
93rd mission over  North Vietnam out of Takhli Thailand when he was shot
down by an air-to-air missile from a Mig over the mountains west of Hanoi on
April 30, 1967. He was captured by a mixture of Vietnamese regular army and
militia a few hours after arriving on the ground. He was imprisoned in camps
around Hanoi. For the largest portion of internment  he was in the "Hanoi
Hilton" and the "Zoo." In 1972 he was moved to a camp in the northern part
of North Vietnam called "Dogpatch " and returned to the "Hanoi Hilton"
January 20, 1973 just prior to release March 4, 1973.

Major Johnson was listed as MIA until August 1969 when he was confirmed as a
POW. Though he suffered considerable infection as well as many boils and
carbuncles during a large portion of his internment he kept in as good a
physical condition as possible by a daily isometric exercise routine. Yet as
a result of the inadequate diet and harsh conditions he lost 33 pounds
between his capture and release. Major Johnson was not allowed to write home
until 31 months after capture.

Major Johnson married a hometown girl Linda Peterson August 17, 1958 and
they have three children: Jill, Eric and Todd. He intends to stay in
the Air Force for at least another eight years and said "I hope I can make a
reasonable contribution to the defense of the freedom of America." He also
leaves this message: "The desire to live and faith in God Country family and
my fellow prisoners kept me going during this long ordeal."

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Harold Johnson retired from the United States Air Force as a Colonel. He and
Linda still live in Iowa.

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