~SOLD~JOHNSON Gerald Walter
Lt. General Gerald Walter Johnson USAF
VICTORIES: 18 ½ aerial victories (1 probable and 4 ½ damaged)
From Owenton, Kentucky, he received his pilots wings and was commissioned as a second lieutenant in April 1942 at Ellington Field, Texas.
Johnson was then assigned to the 56th Fighter Group was sent to England and stationed at Kings Cliffe in January 1943. In April 1943 the group was transferred to Horsham St. Faith which was located near the city of Norwich. Johnson’s first combat mission was also the first mission of the 56th Fighter Group a fighter sweep over the western border of Belgium and France. Gerald flew wing for their commander, Colonel Hub Zemke. Johnson experienced his first aerial combat by damaging a Fw 190 on May 14, 1943 northeast of Antwerp. Johnson claimed his first aerial victory on June 26th by downing a Fw 190 north of Dieppe. In early August Gerald claimed two Bf 109’s and was promoted to Captain on August 10, 1943. He then shared a Bf 110 on the 17th and downed another Bf 109 on the 19th. Johnson became the group’s first ace on October 10th with the downing of a Bf 110 and a Bf 210 in a battle north of Muenster.
While working with the 360th Johnson claimed another aerial victory of a Fw 190 on January 24,1944. Johnson returned to the 56th Fighter Group to become commander of the 63rd Fighter Squadron scoring seven more aerial victories. On March 27th 1944, Johnson was flying escort for bombers and after their bomb run, Johnson led his fighters attacking a freight train and his aircraft was hit by ground fire. Flying at only 200 feet off the ground, his heavy P-47 mushed down into the tops of the trees and came out over a plowed field where it skidded to a stop. Gerald was captured and held as a POW for the duration of the war until he was liberated in May 1945.
He was promoted to brigadier general on November 1, 1965. He later commanded three air divisions as Lieutenant General and was Commander of the Eight Air Force during the last three years of the Viet Nam War. Johnson was serving as Inspector General of the Air Force when he retired in September 1974.
He earned the Distinguished Service Cross, Distinguished Service Medal with one Oak Leaf Cluster Legion of Merit with two Oak Leaf Clusters, Distinguished Flying Cross with 4 Oak Leaf Clusters, Bronze Star, Air Medal with 4 OLCs, Air Force and Army Commendation Medals and the French Croix De Guerre with Silver Star.
ZEMKE'S WOLFPACK : Hub Zemke was one of the greatest Fighter Group CO's of the ETO, along with his counterpart at the 4th FG, Don Blakeslee. Zemke's 56th Fighter Group, the "Wolfpack," was credited with 665 aerial victories, leading all fighter groups in the ETO.
Graphic is 8.5 x 9.5 inches medium bond stock it depicts all the emblems of the Squadrons within the 56th. Slight smear above the "O" in Johnson.
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