Goto Warbirds Resource Group Main Page
Send us comments
Back to main USAAF index
Search this site
back to USAAF Legends - Main Directory




  Born: February 21, 1920
Birthplace: Lawton, OK

Rank at Retirement: Major
Unit(s):
– 56th Fighter Group
— 61st Fighter Squadron
— 62nd Fighter Squadron
Theatre(s): ETO
Decoration:
DSC, SS, DFC, AM, PH
Victories: 27 Aerial
Total Sorties: 91

Aircraft Flown:
– P-47C-1-RE, HV-P/"Half Pint"

– P-47C-2-RE, 41-6235, HV-P/"All Hell"

– P-47D-5-RE, 42-8461, HV-P/"Lucky"

– P-47D-15-RE, 42-76234, HV-P/"Double Lucky"

– P-47D-21-RA, 42-25512
   LM*Q/"Penrod & Sam"


Robert Johnson received his private pilot's license as a teenager. Joined the Civilian Pilot Training Program while attending college. Enlisted USAAC, November 1941. Selected for flight training in December 1941. Commissioned 2/Lt. on July 3, 1942. Assigned to 61st FS/56th FG in November 1942. Arrived to ETO with the 56th Ftr. Gp. in January 1943. First operational mission on April 17, 1943. Shot down an enemy Fw 190 fighter for his first victory on June 13, 1943. Promoted to Captain on March 15, 1944. Later Johnson was promoted to Major and assumed the job of Operations Officer with the 62nd FS/56th FG. On his last mission, May 8, 1944, Maj. Johnson shot down two Fw 190 fighters to round out his scoring. Returned home to the USA in June 1944 and saw no further combat while training new fighter pilots and touring the "Homefront". After WWII, Robert Johnson spent time in the Reserves and obtained the rank of Lt. Colonel in 1949. Joined Republic Aviation as a Test Pilot and later as an executive for the company. Later, Johnson would work in the insurance industry until retirement to Lake Wylie, South Carolina.
Inducted into the Oklahoma Aviation and Space Hall of Fame in 1983.

NOTES:
Robert S. Johnson was first in the ETO to break Capt. Eddie Rickenbacker's WWI American Record of 26 Air Victories. Almost all of Johnson's aerial victories were versus Bf 109 and Fw 190 single-engined fighters excepting four Bf 110 and one Me 410 twin-engined destroyers.
There is discrepancy over whether or not Johnson was ever credited with a further "probable" which would account for some references quoting his tally as 28 Aerial Destroyed. The American Fighter Aces Association recognises 27 aerial victories for Johnson.

Johnson recounted his story to author Martin Caiden in the classic biography "Thunderbolt", first published in 1958.

Robert S. Johnson passed away December 27, 1998 at St. Francis Hospital in Tulsa, Oklahoma after having been hospitalized while visiting with relatives.




   

Sources:
Thanks to Bob Johnson, Mike Yee and the American Fighter Aces Association for information included in this entry.