25 September 1968 – Norman Macleod Paulsen was born on October 6, 1945, in Elmsford, NY. His mother said, “Ever since he was a little boy, he dreamed of flying.” He had enlisted in the Air Force and began his tour on August 3, 1968. He had the rank of First Lieutenant. On a mission
Arelester “Pete” Johnson’s claim to fame is not just that he was one of only a few black fighter pilots, but also a jazz musician who played with some of the top Motown greats. An F-100 fighter pilot takes a risk every time he flies and it was the same courage that landed Pete in the office of a famous music producer.
Pete Johnson grew up in Springfield, OH. In 1966 he graduated from South High School and began studies at Central State University in Wilberforce. It’s what he did next that will surprise you.
He hopped on a bus with his Fender Precision bass guitar and went to Detroit, home of the Motown sound. In a brazen move, he finagled a meeting with Maurice King and went on to play venues from the Appollo to the Copa to the Hollywood Bowl with Shorty Long and Gladys Knight and the Pips.
In 1969, he joined the OHANG and became a fighter pilot, flying F-100’s and A-7’s with the 162nd Tactical Fighter Squadron/178th Tactical Fighter Group.
After serving, he joined the Springfield Police force and later in 1979 became a talk show host with an ABC news affiliate. He also flew for & reported news for the ABC network affiliate in Phoenix AZ, KTVK-TV Channel 3. Ask him to tell you about how he flew some stunts in Jet Ranger and AStar helicopters!
Pete Johnson also served as an Aviation Consultant in Chicago before retiring. If you follow him on Facebook, you’ll find Pete and his beautiful, accomplished wife Cathe hanging out at a jazz club or traveling the globe.