recommended assigning him those
duties within his capabilities.
In response, Johnson initiated the
requested changes, and CAP continued
to improve as an organization. Johnson rose to the rank of colonel in the
Army Air Forces on June 1, 1944, and
for his wartime leadership of CAP the
Army awarded him the Legion of Merit.
In April 1945 the Army reassigned
Johnson and the CAP headquarters
staff to the 2000th Army Air Forces
Base Unit in Fort Worth, Texas. He
subsequently was assigned to the
Army-Navy Liquidation Committee
for the disposal of surplus aircraft and
aeronautical property in North Africa,
Europe, South America and the
Pacific, receiving the EuropeanAfrican-Middle Eastern Campaign
Medal for his work. Johnson returned
reportedly exploded. The aircraft
nosed over and plummeted to the
ground, crashing in the Cleveland suburb of North Royalton just before p.m.
All three men aboard died on impact.
At the time of death, his
promotion to brigadier general was
pending before the Senate Armed
Forces Committee. The previous
month, Army Air Forces Chief of Staff
Gen. Carl Spaatz had recommended
Johnson for the Army Distinguished
Service Medal in recognition of his
leadership and devotion to
in leading CAP. Both honors
were awarded posthumously.
Following funeral services at St.
Episcopal Church in Cleveland,
Johnson was laid to rest with full military honors in a private service at
Arlington National Cemetery.
Both in the Army Air Forces and in civil life, he utilized his full abilities
for the progress and advancement of this air power. His constant
aim was the security of our country through this medium. Lt. Gen.
George E. Stratemeyer, commander, Air Defense Command
to the states and resumed command of
CAP in the spring of 1946.
On Feb. 16, 1947, Johnson lifted
off from the present-day Cleveland
Hopkins International Airport at the
controls of a C-45 Expeditor, an aircraft he flew throughout the war.
Accompanying him were Army Air
Forces Staff Sgt. Kenneth Wood of
Williamsport, Pennsylvania, and U.S.
Marine Corps Pvt. Edward J. Malovic
of Cleveland, who was hitching a ride
back to Marine Corps Air Station
Cherry Point, North Carolina.
Shortly after takeoff, at around
2,000 feet, one of the engines
16 Civil Air Patrol Volunteer
CAP Becomes Air Force
Without steady leadership and promotion of CAP through
its infancy in 1942, the organization
may not have survived the end of
World War II. The OCD ceased to
exist in the summer of 1945. By the
summer of 1943 success in
coastal patrol operations had proven
the worth to the Army
On April 29, 1943, President
Franklin D. Roosevelt issued Executive
Order 9339, transferring CAP to the
War Department, thereby making it
the auxiliary of the Army Air Forces
and later the Air Force. postwar
permanence would be secured on July
1, 1946, when President Harry S.
Truman signed Public Law 79-476
into law, incorporating Civil Air Patrol.
Ever the skilled promoter, Johnson
had served as toastmaster that previous
March for a dinner in honor of Truman, the 79th Congress, and General
of the Army Hap Arnold. The dinner,
together with a blitz of joint CAPArmy Air Forces air shows, undoubtedly helped raise profile for the
president, Congress and the public.
In a eulogy in Congress, members
of the House of Representatives paid
tribute to Johnson. Listing his service
to Ohio and as leader of CAP, Ohio
Congresswoman Frances P. Bolton
concluded that nation can ill
afford to lose such a Lt. Gen.
George E. Stratemeyer, commander,
Air Defense Command, also paid tribute to Johnson and his commitment
to CAP, observing: a heavy
burden of private activity, Colonel
Johnson, throughout his life, still
found time for useful service to his
community, his state and later to the
nation. As a servant of the people he
won their universal esteem by his
sincerity of purpose and earnest observation of the highest principles of conduct, both in public and private life.
Both in the Army Air Forces and in
civil life, he utilized his full abilities for
the progress and advancement of this
air power. His constant aim
was the security of our country
Although his contributions are
often forgotten today, legacy
lives on in the CAP he helped develop
from a temporary wartime to a permanent, postwar organization.