|From The Oregonian oregonlive.com
Johnson, Carl Edmund 'Ed' 90 3/26/1919 5/4/2009 Ed passed away May 4, 2009, at the age of 90, at his home in Lake Oswego from causes related to age. He was born March 26, 1919, in Seattle and moved to Portland with his family as a small child. Ed graduated from Grant High School and Oregon State College. While at OSC, Ed was president of Beta Theta Pi and the Society of Automotive Engineers and a representative to the Engineers Student Council. During World War II, Ed enlisted in the Army Air Corps and served in the Pacific theater, commanding a squadron of B-24 Bombers. Flying 40 missions, Ed was awarded numerous medals, among them the Distinguished Flying Cross, the Air Medal and the Purple Heart. Upon his return, Ed worked for Pacific Northwest Bell, ultimately retiring as the company's regulatory representative. Ed was an avid golfer and tennis player and was fiercely dedicated to the OSU Beavers. Ed was married to Elizabeth Jane "Hug" Huggins in 1946 until her death in 1988. He married Edith Bronson in 1992. In addition to his wife, he is survived by his sons, Eric (Akemi) and Matt; grandchildren, Aaron, Peter (Megan), Zack and Jane; and three great-grandchildren. To honor Ed's final wish, his family has arranged his interment in Willamette National Cemetery. Ed will be buried with full military honors, including Honor Guard and an Air Force flyover. His first wife, Jane, will be interred alongside him. The ceremony will take place at 2 p.m. Friday, June 26, 2009, in Willamette National Cemetery, 11800 S.E. Mt. Scott Boulevard, Portland. All friends, family, and veterans wishing to attend are cordially invited. Willamette requests attendees arrive at 1:30 p.m. for a procession to the site of the service. In lieu of flowers, remembrances to the Athletic Student Fund at Oregon State University can be made to the OSU Foundation, in memory of Ed Johnson, 850 S.W. 35th St., Corvallis, OR 97333.
|From The Oregonian
Getting that flyover off the ground
Posted by Steve Duin, The Oregonian June 20, 2009 19:55PM
What frustrated Eric Johnson as the weeks went by is this:
When it was his father's turn to step up, Carl Edmund Johnson Jr. didn't blink. The guy went to war. He did his duty. Joined the Army Air Forces. Took the controls of that B-24 and, on 22 February 1945, piloted that bombing mission over Marcus Island.
"Where" -- the Distinguished Flying Cross citation reads -- "intense opposition was encountered, damaging the plane's communication system. ... As no precision navigation or bombing instruments for use in adverse weather were installed in the plane, it was impossible to find the target from this high altitude.
"After an hour's search, and with the fuel running low, the target was sighted and attacked from a very low altitude. Despite the damage to the airplane by enemy anti-aircraft and automatic weapons fire, before bombs were away, this crew successfully bombed the enemy airfield, rending it inoperative.
"Leaving the target with a low fuel supply, and with no means of radio contact, the crew flew the seriously damaged airplane on the precarious 900-mile over-water flight to its home base, landing safely with no further damage to plane or injury to crew."
Or subsequent embellishment by 1st Lt. Carl E. Johnson Jr., 7th Air Force, 0413830. Trying to get the old man to talk about that mission -- or his dozen other medals, including the Purple Heart from Iwo Jima -- was nearly impossible up until his death, at 90, on May 4.
All the man wanted was to be interred at Willamette National Cemetery.
And what the man deserved, Eric Johnson decided, was an Air Force flyover.
What so frustrated him, as the weeks went by, is that he couldn't get any help arranging one.
Not every World War II veteran is eligible for a cemetery flyover, mind you. "I couldn't get one," said Maj. Melinda Lepore, a public affairs officer with the 142nd Fighter Wing at the Portland Air Base. "I haven't done anything heroic."
But Carl Johnson did. The Distinguished Flying Cross, Lepore grants, is a "huge, formidable medal." That's precisely why Pete Johnson, his grandson, suggested the color guard and flyover, and Eric Johnson campaigned hard for both of them. He wrote letters, called U.S. senators, faxed military records.
And nothing happened.
"My father stepped up for his country and did what he was supposed to do," Eric Johnson said.
So where was the justice? And those F-15s in the clouds?
Johnson, who lives in Vancouver, had just about run out of patience Friday when the logjam finally broke. Maybe it was the call Staff Sgt. Ben Hier, the disabled combat vet who works in Sen. Jeff Merkley's office, made to the U.S. Air Force congressional liaison.
Or maybe the Pentagon finally cut through all the red tape, squaring things with Mortuary Affairs, Aerial Events, and the color-guard unit out of McChord Air Force Base in Tacoma.
Johnson is relieved: "My whole thing was to get this done for my dad. But I hope I've made things easier for other people who have to deal with this in the future."
"The state generals have been apprised of the situation," Lepore said. "We're asking how we can stop frustrating the families who are making these requests. We are here to honor these veterans."
At approximately 2:10 p.m. this Friday, they'll honor a pilot who volunteered selflessly, flew courageously and retired quietly. And they'll do so in a way to make him proud, with four F-15s screaming his name and singing his praises.