JOHNSON, KENNETH RIP 08/29/2015 Name: Kenneth Johnson Rank/Branch: O4/United States Air Force, pilot Unit: 555th TFS Date of Birth: 23 May 1938 Home City of Record: Minneapolis MN Date of Loss: 19 December 1971 Country of Loss: North Vietnam Loss Coordinates: 200900 North 1042700 East Status (in 1973): Returnee Category: Aircraft/Vehicle/Ground: F4D Other Personnel in Incident: Samuel Vaughn, returnee Source: Compiled by P.O.W. NETWORK 06 from one or more of the following: raw data from U.S. Government agency sources, correspondence with POW/MIA families, published sources, interviews. 2016 REMARKS: 730314 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 KENNETH R. JOHNSON Major - United States Air Force Shot Down: December 18, 1971 Released: March 14, 1973 Ken was born 23 March 1938 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. After he graduated from high school, he received an appointment to the United States Air Force Academy, receiving his commission in 1961. In November 1971 while based in Thailand with the 555 TFS, Ken called his present wife, Linda and proposed to her long distance. She accepted but the distance was to be even longer than the phone call. Five weeks later Ken was shot down. Fifteen months later when he was released from Hanoi, they made plans which culminated in marriage at the hospital chapel at Scott Air Force Base, Illinois. Ken came out of Hanoi on March 14th. One of his roommates at Clark was Major Philip E. Smith (a POW for 7 1/2 years in China). They became good friends in a very short time. Coincidentally, Phil was sent to Scott and gladly served as Ken's best man. Lt. Col. Leo Thorsness and his wife Gaylee were also at Scott. Gaylee and Linda would chat while the men were with the doctors. The night before Ken and Linda were to be married, Gaylee gladly accepted Linda's invitation to serve as her matron of honor. That was to be quite a day for all as Leo Thorsness was going into surgery, their daughter was flying home and Gaylee Thorsness was to be in the wedding. The Air Force really went all out and the day was most memorable - "Dear, sweet, lovely people, all". . . says Linda.
Kenneth Johnson retired from the United States Air Force as a Lt. Colonel. He and Linda resided in Kansas until his death.
As a child, Kenneth R. Johnson watched intently as World War II bombers and other aircraft flew over his south Minneapolis home. It sparked his dream of an aviation career.
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 died Aug. 29 after a year of failing health. He was 77....