Johnson, Leon William, Gen

 Service Photo   Service Details
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Last Rank
Last Primary AFSC/MOS
2-General Officer
Last AFSC Group
Special Identifiers
Primary Unit
1961-1965, 2, Department of Defense (DOD)
Service Years
1926 - 1965
Official/Unofficial US Air Force Certificates
Cuban Missile Crisis

 Last Photo   Personal Details 

Home State
Year of Birth
This Military Service Page was created/owned by SSgt Robert Bruce McClelland, Jr. to remember Johnson, Leon William, Gen.

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Contact Info
Home Town
Columbia, Missouri and Moline, Kansas
Last Address
McLean, Virginia

Date of Passing
Nov 10, 1997
Location of Interment
Arlington National Cemetery - Arlington, Virginia
Wall/Plot Coordinates
Section 7A, Lot 209

 Official Badges 

Supreme Headquarters Allied Forces Europe (SHAPE) NATO Badge Headquarters Air Force Air Force Retired

 Unofficial Badges 

Cold War Medal

 Additional Information
Last Known Activity
Other Comments:

His Medal of Honor citation:
Rank and organization: Colonel, U.S. Army Air Corps, 44th Bomber Group, 9th Air Force.
Place and date: Ploesti Raid, Rumania, August 1, 1943. Entered service at: Moline, Kans. Born: September 13, 1904, Columbia, Mo. G.O. No.: 54, September 7, 1943


For conspicuous gallantry in action and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty on August 1, 1943. Col. Johnson, as commanding officer of a heavy bombardment group, let the formation of the aircraft of his organization constituting the fourth element of the mass low-level bombing attack of the 9th U.S. Air Force against the vitally important enemy target of the Ploesti oil refineries. While proceeding to the target on this 2,400-mile flight, his element became separated from the leading elements of the mass formation in maintaining the formation of the unit while avoiding dangerous cumulous cloud conditions encountered over mountainous territory. Though temporarily lost, he reestablished contact with the third element and continued on the mission with this reduced force to the prearranged point of attack, where it was discovered that the target assigned to Col. Johnson's group had been attacked and damaged by a preceding element. Though having lost the element of surprise upon which the safety and success of such a daring form of mission in heavy bombardment aircraft so strongly depended, Col. Johnson elected to carry out his planned low-level attack despite the thoroughly alerted defenses, the destructive antiaircraft fire, enemy fighter airplanes, the imminent danger of exploding delayed action bombs from the previous element, of oil fires and explosions, and of intense smoke obscuring the target. By his gallant courage, brilliant leadership, and superior flying skill, Col. Johnson so led his formation as to destroy totally the important refining plants and installations which were the object of his mission. Col. Johnson's personal contribution to the success of this historic raid, and the conspicuous gallantry in action, and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty demonstrated by him on this occasion constitute such deeds of valor and distinguished service as have during our Nation's history formed the finest traditions of our Armed Forces.


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Aviator (Command)

 Unit Assignments
US Army (USA)/US Military Academy West PointUnited States Army Air Corps (USAAC)School Assignments335th Bombardment Group
90th Bombardment Squadron, Tactical10th Strategic Reconnaissance SquadronSecond Air Force (2nd Air Force)8th Air Force
44th Bombardment Group, Heavy14th Bombardment WingUnited States Army Air Forces (USAAF)15th Air Force
3rd Air DivisionDepartment of Defense (DOD)3rd Air ForceContinental Air Command (CAC)
United Nations (UN)North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO)Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers in Europe (SHAPE)
  1922-1926, 00000, US Army (USA)/US Military Academy West Point
  1930-1934, M 0784, United States Army Air Corps (USAAC)
  1934-1935, M 0784, United States Army Air Corps (USAAC)
  1935-1936, M 0770, Pilot Training Class (Unknown)
  1936-1940, M 0770, 335th Bombardment Group
  1940-1941, M 0770, 90th Bombardment Squadron, Tactical
  1941-1941, M 0770, 10th Strategic Reconnaissance Squadron
  1941-1942, M 0770, Second Air Force (2nd Air Force)
  1942-1942, M 0770, 8th Air Force
  1942-1943, M 0770, 8th Air Force
  1943-1943, M 0770, 44th Bombardment Group, Heavy
  1943-1945, M 0770, 14th Bombardment Wing
  1945-1947, M 0770, United States Army Air Forces (USAAF)
  1947-1948, M 0770, 15th Air Force
  1948-1951, 2, 3rd Air Division
  1950-1952, 2, Military Assistance Advisory Group United Kingdon (MAAGUK)
  1951-1952, 2, 3rd Air Force
  1952-1956, 2, Continental Air Command (CAC)
  1953-1956, 2, United Nations (UN)
  1956-1957, 2, North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO)
  1957-1958, 2, North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO)
  1958-1961, 2, Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers in Europe (SHAPE)
  1961-1965, 2, Department of Defense (DOD)
 Combat and Non-Combat Operations
  1942-1945 World War II/European-African-Middle Eastern Theater
  1943-1943 World War II/European-African-Middle Eastern Theater/Air Offensive, Europe Campaign (1942-44)
  1943-1943 Air Offensive, Europe Campaign (1942-44)/Operation Strangle
  1944-1944 World War II/European-African-Middle Eastern Theater/Anzio Campaign (1944)
  1944-1944 World War II/European-African-Middle Eastern Theater/Northern France Campaign (1944)
  1944-1944 World War II/European-African-Middle Eastern Theater/Rhineland Campaign (1944-45)
  1945-1945 World War II/European-African-Middle Eastern Theater/Central Europe Campaign (1945)
 Colleges Attended 
United States Military AcademyCalifornia Institute of Technology
  1922-1926, United States Military Academy
  1932-1934, California Institute of Technology
 My Aircraft/Missiles
B-12 Bomber  A-18 Shrike  B-18 Bolo  A-20 Havoc  
A-24 Banshee  B-24 Liberator  
  1940-1940, B-12 Bomber
  1940-1941, A-18 Shrike
  1940-1941, B-18 Bolo
  1941-1941, A-20 Havoc
  1941-1941, A-24 Banshee
  1943-1945, B-24 Liberator
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