Proceedings, Debates of the U.S. Congress
ADMIRAL ROY L. JOHNSON
(Senate - March 25, 1999)
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[Pages S3432-S3433] From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov] ADMIRAL ROY L. JOHNSON Mr. LOTT. Mr. President, the nation lost one of its most distinguished military leaders when Admiral Roy L. Johnson passed away on March 20. He was 93. His Naval career spanned 38 years, at the end of which he was Commander in Chief of the U.S. Naval Forces in the Pacific at the height of the Vietnam conflict in 1965-1967. Prior to that, as Commander of the U.S. Seventh Fleet, he had given the orders to the U.S.S. Maddox and U.S.S. Turner Joy to fire back at Viet Cong gunboats in the Tonkin Gulf incident. The Admiral was a pioneer of Naval aviation. He received his wings in 1932 and served as a flight instructor at the U.S. Navy flight school at Pensacola, both in the era of the biplane in the early 1930s and at the dawn of the space age in the 1950s. This remarkable man was born March 18, 1906 in Big Bend, Louisiana, the eldest of twelve children of John Edward Johnson and Hettie May Long. He graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in the class of 1929 and devoted his life thereafter to the security of his country. During World War II, serving on the U.S.S Hornet, he was awarded the Bronze Star, the Air Medal and the Legion of Merit with gold star. He saw action in the places [[Page S3433]] whose names have become a litany of courage: the Philippines, Wake Island, Truk, Iwo Jima, Okinawa. A few year later, as Commanding Officer of the escort carrier U.S.S. Badoeng Strait, he again saw action in the Korean War. In 1955, he became the first commanding officer of the U.S.S. Forrestal, the first of the ``super-carriers,'' was promoted to the rank of Rear Admiral, and later assumed command of Carrier Division Four, with the Forrestal as his flagship. In 1960, he was named Assistant Chief of Naval Operations for Plans and Policy, was later promoted to Vice Admiral, and in 1963 became Deputy Commander in Chief of the U.S. Pacific Fleet. A year later, he was appointed Commander of the Seventh Fleet, and in that capacity was awarded his second Distinguished Service Medal. In 1965, he was promoted to full Admiral and became Commander in Chief of the U.S. Pacific Fleet and the last Military Governor of the Bonin Islands, which include Iwo Jima. After his retirement in 1967, Admiral Johnson remained active in civic affairs. He was Chairman of the Board of Virginia Beach General Hospital, a founding trustee of the U.S.S. Forrestal Memorial Education Foundation, president of the Early and Pioneer Naval Aviators Association (The Golden Eagles), President of the Naval Academy Alumni Association, and other organizations. He was an active contributor to the U.S. Naval Institute's Oral History Program, which published his military memoirs, served as an advisor on national security matters, and was on the national board of Senator Bob Dole's veterans' group in his presidential campaign. The Admiral's wife of 69 years, the former Margaret Louise Gross, died last year. Anyone who has been close to a military life theirs knows that it has to be a joint enterprise, in which both husband and wife share the sacrifices, the uncertainties, and the satisfaction of a job heroically done. On behalf of the U.S. Senate, I would like to offer one last salute to Roy Johnson, a patriot from the beginning, a patriot to the last. As we extend our condolences to all his family--especial his daughter, Jo- Anne Lee Coe, our former Secretary of the Senate--we know they share our pride and our appreciation for all that Admiral Johnson did, and gave, to the country he loved. ____________________