(Senate - March 25, 1999)

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[Pages S3432-S3433]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office []

                         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.