Kenneth O. Johnson

Picture of Kenneth Johnson KENNETH O. JOHNSON, "K.O." born in Harville, Missouri near Popular Bluff, Missouri on August 31, 1922,grew up in southeast Missouri and northeast Arkansas, graduated from Corning High School, Corning, Arkansas, worked for Curtis Wright Aircraft Co. building aircraft until called into active duty as a cadet/aviation student in 1943.

Since release from active duty in December 1945 graduated from Purdue University in 1950, married Betty Lou Jones, PU graduate from LaFayette, Indiana August 5, 1950. We have two children, Cynthia Jo born June 9, 1958 and Gregory Alan born June 20,1960.

Cynthia graduated from PU in May 1980 and married James Parker Greaton who graduated from PU in 1978. They are living in New York City. Cynthia is a student at Columbia University in the PhD pathology program and Jim is in the actuarial program with The Equitable Life Assurance Society of the United States. Greg has completed one year of photo journalism at Western Kentucky University and is doing free lance photography.

Upon release from active duty in 1945 I continued in the active reserve for ten years, first flying out of Indianapolis, Indiana then out of Columbus, Indiana. I retired from the Air Force reserves as a captain in 1956.

In 1951 I started working as a Gas Turbine Design Engineer. The first fifteen years were with Allison Division of General Motors in Indianapolis, Indiana, and the next fifteen have been with the Aircraft Engine Division of General Electric in Cincinnati, Ohio.

I am presently responsible for the design and development of the LM 5000/LM 500 and advanced derivative engines for Marine and Industrial uses.

In late January 1943 I reported to Decatur, Illinois since I had signed up for the cadet program at Scott Field, Illinois was shipped back to St. Louis, Missouri (Jefferson Barracks) the same day. Weathered the winter of '43 in the World War I type barracks, the worst two months of my life. Was sent to the university of Missouri at Columbia for C.T.D. After five enjoyable months went to San Antonio, Texas for classification and basic ground training.

Took my Primary Flight Training at Sikeston, Missouri; Basic Flight Training at Strother Field, Windfield, Kansas and Advanced Flight Training at Aloe Field, Victoria, Texas. After graduating from flight training as a 2nd Lieutenant I took my first Overseas Flight Training at Richmond, Virginia in the Jug (P47).

Gunnery Training was accomplished out of the Norfolk, Va. municipal Field. Was shipped to Stone, England as a replacement pilot. From there I was flown to Paris, France and remained at one of the Rothchild estates until I received orders to join the 48th Fighter Group of the 9th Air Force some place in Germany. The exact location of the group was not known since they were moving frequently. Took about ten days to locate them near Kassel, Germany.

The war was winding down by the time I joined the group. The 48th's new rule required me to log fifteen hours flying time in Germany before going on an official mission. By the time I completed the fifteen hours, (had to fight for a plane), we had moved to a small town, Eilshim, near Nurnberg. I managed to get two missions in the last two days of the war in Europe.

I stayed on in Germany with the 48th where we trained for combat in the Pacific, however, the war ended there while we were enroute to Marseilles, France. Shortly after leaving port our orders were changed and we were returned to New York City. After a thirty day leave I joined the 48th at Seymore Johnson Field in North Carolina where I was later released from active duty. I logged a total of one thousand hours in military aircraft.

KO is listed in Who's Who in Aviation and Who's Who in the Midwest and in Personailities of the West and Midwest. KO had open heart surgery April 28, 1980 six by-passes. He has been back to work since August 11th. His recovery is great and on no medication.

List of all P47 Pilots:
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Pilot Name Biography Summary
John Abbotts P-47 transition followed at Pocatello, Idaho and Greenville, Texas after which he was assigned to the 56th Fighter Group in England. When the news of his arrival reached Berlin, Hitler retired to his bunker with his cyanide capsule and revolver. Eva found the news equally depressing.
Asa A. Adair He returned to the States in August of 1944 after participating in the invasion "D" Day. He flew P-63's, P-51's, F-80's, T-33's, F-84's, T-38's, P-47's in numerous assignments during the following twenty years in in, Japan, U.S.A. and Europe before retiring after twenty-six years of Active Duty.
Edward B. Addison The 507th Fighter Group, equipped with P-47N's, won the Presidential Unit Citation for destroying 32 Japanese aircraft in the air on one mission to Seoul, Korea. The average flying time for raids to Korea and Japan would be 7 to 9 hours flying time. In a total of 31 months, the 507th not only provided top cover for B-29's, but also dive-bombed, napalm-bombed and flew low-level on strafing missions.
Levon B. Agha-Zarian It is rumored that he, took his primary training on a flying rug. He flew Spits, briefly, in England, but as the, war moved to the East, he was sent to India as a Sgt. Pilot and first saw action from Ceylon, flying the Curtiss P.36, the Brewster Buffalo, and the Hurricane. At this point he might have opted for the rug! This was at the time of the fall of Singapore and the sinking of the Prince of Wales and the Repulse.
George N. Ahles Posted to A-20 light bomber squadron Barksdale Field, Louisiana. . Group moved to Hunter Air Base Savannah, Georgia. Qualified for Pilot training November 1940. Entered Aviation Cadets January 1942. Presented wings November 1942 class of 42-J. Married Mary Louise while in Advanced Pilot Training at Craig AFB, Selma, Alabama, September 1942.
Roy J. Aldritt Shortly after the group moved to France he ran into some unseen flak and was forced to make a nylon descent behind the lines; some evasion and a lot of luck had him back with his unit in 24 hours.
Eugene J. Amaral After graduation from Stonington High School he enlisted as an Aviation Cadet in December 1942 and was called to active duty in March, 1943. He received his wings and commission at Spence Field, Georgia as a member of the Class of 43-C.
Talmadge L. Ambrose Flew 84 missions thru VE Day, was downed by 22mm ground fire over Siefried Line. He destroyed 11 enemy aircraft, 9 known confirmed in air and on ground, including 4 FW 190-D's in one afternoon over Hanover, Germany, April 8, 1945. He was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross, Distinguished Flying Cross, Air Medal, 17 man, Oak Leaf Clusters, Good Conduct Medal, Pacific Theatre and European Theatre Meda1s with 5 Battle Stars and Unit Citation Medal.
John C. Anderson After P-47 transition he was assigned to the 406th Fighter Group, 512th Fighter Squadron. (E.T .0.) He flew 56 missions through January, 1945 destroying supply routes, bridges, and railroads; he also flew close support missions with the ground forces, with attacks on tanks, artillery and enemy positions.
William Anderson It was not always flak,two ME-109's beat the hell out of me one day. The central controller called me and said "Basher-Red Leader do you have contact Bandits," I replied, "I sure do, I'll bring them over the field in 3 minutes, they're chasing me home." Got all the usual medals including two Belgium and two French but one I'm most proud of is the Silver Star -it is the greatest.
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