Major Gerald W. Johnson
P-47D "In the Mood"
By Sir Ernie Hamilton Boyette
There are 750 limited edition prints in this series. Print size 12x18"
Limited Edition Prints are signed and numbered by the Artist and signed by Gerald Johnson. $60.00
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Major Gerald W. Johnson
Gerald Walter Johnson was born on July 10, 1919 in Owenton, Kentucky. He left collage in September 1941 to enter the aviation cadet-training program to become an Army Air Corp pilot. He received his pilot’s wings and was commissioned as a second lieutenant in April 1942 at Ellington Field, Texas.
Johnson was then assigned to the 61st Fighter Squadron, 56th Fighter Group. His training with the group was at Mitchell Field, New York which gave him experience flying the P-36, P-40 and the P-38. They were then transferred to Bridgeport, Connecticut where they were to receive the first P-47 delivered to a tactical unit.
The group was sent to England and stationed at Kings Cliffe, which was a new wartime airfield still under construction in January 1943. In April 1943 the group was transferred to Horsham St. Faith, which was located near the city of Norwich. When the 56th Fighter Group, flew its first mission Gerald was in the flight. Their mission was a fighter sweep over the western border of Belgium and France. Gerald flew wing for the commander, Colonel Hub Zemke.
On May 14, 1943 Johnson experienced his first aerial combat by damaging an FW 190 northeast of Antwerp. Gerald fired on the Focke Wulf 190 and saw bright flashes strike the enemy aircraft in the cockpit area. Looking around Gerald saw two Focke Wulf’s were closing in on his Thunderbolt with one German ready to fire. Johnson broke off his attack on the enemy fighter not knowing if the German fighter he hit went down or not.
Johnson claimed his first aerial victory on June 26th by downing an FW 190 north of Dieppe. In early August Gerald claimed two 109’s and was promoted to Captain on August 10, 1943. He then shared in the downing with another pilot of a Bf 110 on the 17th. Gerald downed another Bf 109 on the 19th of August. Johnson became the group’s first Ace on October 10th with the downing of a Bf 110 and a Bf 210 in a battle north of Munster.
Johnson was sent to the 360th Fighter Squadron to train the new group with his combat experiences. While working with the 360th Johnson claimed another aerial victory of a FW 190 on January 24, 1944.
Johnson returned to the 56th Fighter Group to become commander of the 63rd Fighter Squadron where he scored seven more aerial victories. On March 27th 1944, Johnson flew his last mission while flying escort for bombers. After the bomb run, Johnson led his fighters down to look for targets of opportunity.
Johnson spotted a freight train and descended with his guns ripping into the rolling stock. Explosions rocked the train as Johnson pulled up. Looking back he saw his men getting devastating strikes as well. Johnson came around for another pass. As he approached the train he was unaware that the train was equipped with antiaircraft defensive guns. As Johnson lined up on the train the AA-guns lined up on his Thunderbolt. Enemy fire struck his engine knocking it out completely. Flying at only 200 feet off the ground, Johnson pulled up over the train and headed for a group of trees.
The plane was coming down and Johnson fought the controls to keep the aircraft stable. The heavy P-47 mashed down into the tops of trees and came out over a plowed field where his fighter hit and skidded to a stop. Gerald was captured and held as a POW for the duration of the war until he was liberated in May 1945.
Johnson returned to the 56th Fighter Group at Selfridge Field Michigan where he commanded the 62nd Fighter Squadron. He chose to stay in the Air Corp thought the transition to the new Air Force. He also continuing his college education. He was promoted to Brigadier General on November 1, 1965.
Johnson later commanded three air divisions as Lieutenant General and was Commander of the Eight Air Force during the last three years of the Viet Nam War. Johnson was serving as Inspector General of the Air Force when he retired in September 1974.
Johnson was credited with 18 ˝ aerial victories, one probable, and 4 ˝ damaged. He earned the Distinguished Service Cross, Distinguished Service Medal with one Oak Leaf Cluster, Legion of Merit with two Oak Leaf Clusters, Distinguished Flying Cross with 4 Oak Leaf Clusters, Bronze Star, Air Medal with 4 Oak Leaf Clusters, Air Force and Army Commendation Medals and the French Croix De Guerre with Silver Star.
Story and artwork by; Sir Ernie Hamilton Boyette
Gerald Johnson and Artist.
Here is Gerald Johnson and the artist at the Art Show and print signing. We had about thirty five to forty people who attended plus we had a scale plastic model contest with twenty five entries.
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All research, writings and artwork are by Sir Ernie Hamilton Boyette.
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Sir. Ernie Hamilton Boyette
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