Samuel R. Johnson



Preferred Name:
Sam

Nickname/Call Sign: Tiger

Date of Birth: September 13, 1930

Highest Military Grade Held: Colonel, O6

Hometown: Dallas, TX

Biography

Johnson served a 29-year career in the United States Air Force, where he served as director of the Air Force Fighter Weapons School and flew the F-100 Super Sabre with the Air Force Thunderbirds precision flying demonstration team. He commanded the 31st Tactical Fighter Wing at Homestead AFB, Florida and an air division at Holloman AFB, New Mexico, retiring as a colonel. One of his classmates in flight school was future astronaut Buzz Aldrin. The two remained longlife friends.
He is a combat veteran of both the Korean Conflict and Vietnam War as a fighter pilot. During the Korean War, he flew 62 combat missions in the F-86 Sabre and shot down one Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-15. During the Vietnam War, Johnson flew the F-4 Phantom II.
POW
On April 16, 1966, while flying his 25th combat mission in Vietnam, he was shot down over North Vietnam and suffered a broken arm and back. He was a prisoner of war for nearly seven years, including 42 months in solitary confinement. During this period, he was repeatedly tortured.
Johnson was part of a group of eleven U.S. military prisoners known as the “Alcatraz Gang”, a group of prisoners separated from other captives for their resistance to their captors. They were held in “Alcatraz”, a special facility about one mile away from the Hỏa Lò Prison, notably nicknamed the “Hanoi Hilton”. Johnson, like the others, was kept in solitary confinement, locked nightly in legcuffs in a windowless 3-by-9-foot concrete cell with the light on around the clock. Johnson was released on February 12, 1973 during Operation Homecoming. Johnson recounted the details of his POW experience in his autobiography, Captive Warriors.
In 2018, Johnson donated objects related to his imprisonment to the collection of the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of American History.
He walks with a noticeable limp, due to a wartime injury.
POST MILITARY CAREER
After his military career, he established a homebuilding business in Plano. He was elected to the Texas House of Representatives in 1984 and was re-elected four times. On May 8, 1991, he was elected to the U.S. House in a special election brought about by eight-year incumbent Steve Bartlett’s resignation to become mayor of Dallas.
Johnson served 13 consecutive terms. After the death of John McCain, Johnson became the only Vietnam-era prisoner of war serving in Congress.
Johnson was married to former Shirley L. Melton of Dallas from 1950 until her death on December 3, 2015. They are the parents of three children and ten grandchildren.
Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sam_Johnson

SAMUEL R. JOHNSON
Colonel – United States Air ForceRank/Branch: O4/United States Air Force
Unit: 433rd TFS
Date of Birth: 11 October 1930
Home City of Record: Dallas Tx
Shot Down: April 16, 1966
Released: February 12, 1973
Country of Loss: North Vietnam
Aircraft/Vehicle/Ground: F4C
Missions: 25
“The nearly seven years  that I spent in Hanoi but most especially the more than two years in a camp called Alcatraz engendered a close-knit bond between me and some great Americans. I count these men as true friends and their courage and ideals have brought home vividly to me what America is all about. I can only emphasize that the freedoms that most Americans take for granted are in fact, real and must be preserved. I have returned to a great nation and  our sacrifices have been  well worth the effort.  I pledge to continue to serve and fight to protect the freedoms and ideals that the United  States stands for.”
Source:

Units Assigned

  • 5/1951 Commissioned Air Force ROTC Program
  • 8/1952 UPT, Combat Crew Training (F-86)
  • 1952-1953 16h Fighter Interceptor Squadron, Suwon AB, South Korea (F-86)
  • 1953-1957 IP, Nellis AFB, NV (F-86)
  • 3/1957-10/1958 USAF Thunderbirds Aerial Demonstration Team (F-100)
  • 1/1959-1/1960 493rd Tactical Fighter Squadron at Chaumont AB, France
  • 1/1960-4/1960 493rd Tactical Fighter Squadron, RAF Lakenheath, England
  • 4/1960-2/1962 48th Tactical Fighter Wing, Chief of Weapons, Lakenheath, England
  • 2/1962-2/1964 4525th Student Squadron, Air Operations Officer/Director of Operations and Training, Nellis AFB, NV
  • 2/1964-7/1964 Counterinsurgency Indoctrination
  • 7/1964-2/1966 4520th Combat Crew Training Wing, Military Assistance Command Vietnam, Nellis AFB, NV
  • 2/1966-4/16/1966 8th Tactical Fighter Wing, Ubon AB, Thailand (F-4)
  • 4/16/1966 Forced to eject over North Vietnam, P.O.W. for 2,494 days (42 months in solitary confinement)
  • 2/12/1973 Released during Operation Homecoming, (hospitalized for several months)
  • 1973-1974 National War College
  • 1974-1976 4th Tactical Fighter Wing, Deputy Commander for Operations/Wing Inspector, Seymour Johnson AFB, NC
  • 1976-1979 31st Tactical Fighter Wing, Commmander, Homestead AFB, FL
  • 4/30/1979 Retired USAF

Awards & Decorations

AF Command Pilot Badge
US Army Airborne basic parachutist badge.gif AF Parachutist Badge
Silver Star (with Oak Leaf Cluster)
Legion of Merit (with 2 Oak Leaf Clusters)
Distinguished Flying Cross
Bronze Star (with Valor Device)
Purple Heart (with Oak Leaf Cluster)
Meritorious Service Medal
Air Medal (with 3 Oak Leaf Clusters)
Air Force Commendation Medal (with Oak Leaf Cluster)
Air Force Outstanding Unit Award (with 3 Oak Leaf Clusters and Valor Device)
Air Force Outstanding Unit Award (second)
Prisoner of War Medal
Combat Readiness Medal (with 2 Oak Leaf Clusters)
National Defense Service Medal (with Bronze Star)
Korean Service Medal (with 2 Bronze Stars)
Vietnam Service Medal (with 1 Bronze and 3 Silver Stars)
Air Force Longevity Service Award (with Silver Oak Leaf Cluster)
Small Arms Marksmanship Ribbon
Korean Presidential Service Medal
Vietnam Gallantry Cross (with Palm)
United Nations Korea Medal
Vietnam Campaign Medal
Korean War Service Medal

Flight Info

F-86
F-100
F-4

Military Education

  • Counterinsurgency Indoctrination
  • National War College

Civilian Education

  • Southern Methodist University (BBA)
  • George Washington University (MS)
Biography

Biography

Johnson served a 29-year career in the United States Air Force, where he served as director of the Air Force Fighter Weapons School and flew the F-100 Super Sabre with the Air Force Thunderbirds precision flying demonstration team. He commanded the 31st Tactical Fighter Wing at Homestead AFB, Florida and an air division at Holloman AFB, New Mexico, retiring as a colonel. One of his classmates in flight school was future astronaut Buzz Aldrin. The two remained longlife friends.
He is a combat veteran of both the Korean Conflict and Vietnam War as a fighter pilot. During the Korean War, he flew 62 combat missions in the F-86 Sabre and shot down one Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-15. During the Vietnam War, Johnson flew the F-4 Phantom II.
POW
On April 16, 1966, while flying his 25th combat mission in Vietnam, he was shot down over North Vietnam and suffered a broken arm and back. He was a prisoner of war for nearly seven years, including 42 months in solitary confinement. During this period, he was repeatedly tortured.
Johnson was part of a group of eleven U.S. military prisoners known as the “Alcatraz Gang”, a group of prisoners separated from other captives for their resistance to their captors. They were held in “Alcatraz”, a special facility about one mile away from the Hỏa Lò Prison, notably nicknamed the “Hanoi Hilton”. Johnson, like the others, was kept in solitary confinement, locked nightly in legcuffs in a windowless 3-by-9-foot concrete cell with the light on around the clock. Johnson was released on February 12, 1973 during Operation Homecoming. Johnson recounted the details of his POW experience in his autobiography, Captive Warriors.
In 2018, Johnson donated objects related to his imprisonment to the collection of the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of American History.
He walks with a noticeable limp, due to a wartime injury.
POST MILITARY CAREER
After his military career, he established a homebuilding business in Plano. He was elected to the Texas House of Representatives in 1984 and was re-elected four times. On May 8, 1991, he was elected to the U.S. House in a special election brought about by eight-year incumbent Steve Bartlett’s resignation to become mayor of Dallas.
Johnson served 13 consecutive terms. After the death of John McCain, Johnson became the only Vietnam-era prisoner of war serving in Congress.
Johnson was married to former Shirley L. Melton of Dallas from 1950 until her death on December 3, 2015. They are the parents of three children and ten grandchildren.
Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sam_Johnson

P.O.W. Story

SAMUEL R. JOHNSON
Colonel – United States Air ForceRank/Branch: O4/United States Air Force
Unit: 433rd TFS
Date of Birth: 11 October 1930
Home City of Record: Dallas Tx
Shot Down: April 16, 1966
Released: February 12, 1973
Country of Loss: North Vietnam
Aircraft/Vehicle/Ground: F4C
Missions: 25
“The nearly seven years  that I spent in Hanoi but most especially the more than two years in a camp called Alcatraz engendered a close-knit bond between me and some great Americans. I count these men as true friends and their courage and ideals have brought home vividly to me what America is all about. I can only emphasize that the freedoms that most Americans take for granted are in fact, real and must be preserved. I have returned to a great nation and  our sacrifices have been  well worth the effort.  I pledge to continue to serve and fight to protect the freedoms and ideals that the United  States stands for.”
Source:

Units - Education - Awards - Flight Info

Units Assigned

  • 5/1951 Commissioned Air Force ROTC Program
  • 8/1952 UPT, Combat Crew Training (F-86)
  • 1952-1953 16h Fighter Interceptor Squadron, Suwon AB, South Korea (F-86)
  • 1953-1957 IP, Nellis AFB, NV (F-86)
  • 3/1957-10/1958 USAF Thunderbirds Aerial Demonstration Team (F-100)
  • 1/1959-1/1960 493rd Tactical Fighter Squadron at Chaumont AB, France
  • 1/1960-4/1960 493rd Tactical Fighter Squadron, RAF Lakenheath, England
  • 4/1960-2/1962 48th Tactical Fighter Wing, Chief of Weapons, Lakenheath, England
  • 2/1962-2/1964 4525th Student Squadron, Air Operations Officer/Director of Operations and Training, Nellis AFB, NV
  • 2/1964-7/1964 Counterinsurgency Indoctrination
  • 7/1964-2/1966 4520th Combat Crew Training Wing, Military Assistance Command Vietnam, Nellis AFB, NV
  • 2/1966-4/16/1966 8th Tactical Fighter Wing, Ubon AB, Thailand (F-4)
  • 4/16/1966 Forced to eject over North Vietnam, P.O.W. for 2,494 days (42 months in solitary confinement)
  • 2/12/1973 Released during Operation Homecoming, (hospitalized for several months)
  • 1973-1974 National War College
  • 1974-1976 4th Tactical Fighter Wing, Deputy Commander for Operations/Wing Inspector, Seymour Johnson AFB, NC
  • 1976-1979 31st Tactical Fighter Wing, Commmander, Homestead AFB, FL
  • 4/30/1979 Retired USAF

Awards & Decorations

AF Command Pilot Badge
US Army Airborne basic parachutist badge.gif AF Parachutist Badge
Silver Star (with Oak Leaf Cluster)
Legion of Merit (with 2 Oak Leaf Clusters)
Distinguished Flying Cross
Bronze Star (with Valor Device)
Purple Heart (with Oak Leaf Cluster)
Meritorious Service Medal
Air Medal (with 3 Oak Leaf Clusters)
Air Force Commendation Medal (with Oak Leaf Cluster)
Air Force Outstanding Unit Award (with 3 Oak Leaf Clusters and Valor Device)
Air Force Outstanding Unit Award (second)
Prisoner of War Medal
Combat Readiness Medal (with 2 Oak Leaf Clusters)
National Defense Service Medal (with Bronze Star)
Korean Service Medal (with 2 Bronze Stars)
Vietnam Service Medal (with 1 Bronze and 3 Silver Stars)
Air Force Longevity Service Award (with Silver Oak Leaf Cluster)
Small Arms Marksmanship Ribbon
Korean Presidential Service Medal
Vietnam Gallantry Cross (with Palm)
United Nations Korea Medal
Vietnam Campaign Medal
Korean War Service Medal

Flight Info

F-86
F-100
F-4

Military Education

  • Counterinsurgency Indoctrination
  • National War College

Civilian Education

  • Southern Methodist University (BBA)
  • George Washington University (MS)
Photos
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