Russell David Johnson joined the United States Army Air Forces as an aviation cadet and was commissioned as a second lieutenant. He flew 44 combat missions as a bombardier in B-25 bombers.
While flying as a navigator in a B-25 with the 100th Bombardment Squadron, 42nd Bombardment Group, 13th Air Force, his plane and two other B-25s were shot down in the Philippines in March 1945 during a low level bombing and strafing run against Japanese targets.
The planes were hit by intense flak and had to ditch in the waters off the port of Zamboanga. During the ditching, he broke both his ankles and the radioman next to him was killed.
Johnson earned a Purple Heart for this mission. He was also awarded the Air Medal, the Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal with three service stars, the Philippine Liberation Ribbon with one service star, and the World War II Victory Medal. He was honourably discharged with the rank of first lieutenant on November 22, 1945.
1st Lieutenant Johnson AKA "The Professor" passed away January 16th 2014, in Bainbridge Island, Washington. He was 89 years old
Blue skies and following winds, 1st Lieutenant Johnson