General Johnson was born September 25, 1928, in Stillwater, MN. He graduated from Central High School (Minneapolis) in June 1945, and enrolled in the University of Minnesota at the age of 16. Recipient of a full scholarship through a brand new NROTC program, he was commissioned regular Marine Corps upon graduation on June 10, 1950. One day later, he married his college sweetheart, Violet Linnea Bergquist.
After completing Basic School at Quantico, VA and the Artillery Battery Officers’ Course at Fort Sill, OK (1951), he reported to the 3d Marine Division, Camp Pendleton, CA, where he served as Battery/Supply Officer. In June 1952, he was assigned as Supply Officer of the 4th Battalion, llth Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, during combat operations in Korea.
He was promoted to Captain in July 1953 and became Battery Executive Officer, 4th Battalion, 10th Marine Regiment, 2d Marine Division, Camp Lejeune, NC. He served as Executive Officer of the Supply School Company until July 1957, when he was transferred to the 3d Marine Division on Okinawa as a Rocket Battery Commander. Subsequent assignments included: Regimental Supply Officer, 12th Marines (1957), Officer-in-Charge, Division Supply Instruction and Inspection Team, 3d Marine Division (1958), and, Marine Corps Supply Center, Barstow, CA (1959). Upon promotion to Major, he became the Head of the Stock Control Branch, Materiel Division (1960).
In May 1961, he was reassigned to Headquarters Marine Corps, Washington D.C., as Assistant Inventory Management Officer and Project/Supply Officer, Supply Department. He attended the Command and Staff College, Quantico (1964 to 1965), after which he was selected as the Marine Aide and Liaison Officer to the Assistant Secretary of the Navy (Installations and Logistics) for a period of two years. He was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel in September 1965.
In September 1967, he was transferred to the 9th Marine Amphibious Brigade serving as the Brigade Supply Officer in Okinawa and Viet Nam. In August 1968, he was reassigned to Marine Corps Supply Activity, Philadelphia, as Operations Officer and subsequently Director, Supply Operations Division. He attended the Industrial College of the Armed Forces, Washington, D.C., from August 1969 to August 1970, and concurrently earned an M.S. degree in Business Administration from George Washington University. He was promoted to Colonel in March 1970.
In September 1970, he returned to Marine Corps Supply Activity, Philadelphia, as Director, Technical Operations Division and, in January 1971, became the Deputy Chief of Staff (Operations).
He served as Regimental Commander, 2d Force Service Regiment, Force Troops, Camp Lejeune, from February 1973 until his advancement to Brigadier General in May 1974, when he became Commanding General, Marine Corps Supply Center, Albany, GA. He became Assistant Deputy Chief of Staff for Installations and Logistics Headquarters Marine Corps on April 20, 1976, and Deputy Chief of Staff, Installations and Logistics on June 18, 1977. He was promoted to Major General on July 1, 1977 and assumed command at Marine Corps Logistics Base, Albany, GA, on July 6, 1977. General Johnson retired at Albany, Georgia in 1980 after over 30 years of service.
General Johnson’s awards and decorations include the Bronze Star Medal, the Navy Commendation Medal, the Combat Action Ribbon, the Navy Unit Commendation, the National Defense Service Medal with one bronze star, the Korean Service Medal with three bronze stars, the Vietnam Service Medal with four bronze stars, the Korean Presidential Unit Citation, the Republic of Vietnam Armed Forces Meritorious Unit Citation Gallantry Cross Color, the United Nations Service Medal and the Vietnam Campaign Medal with device.
Following retirement from the Marine Corps, he held executive positions, including Director of the A-10 program, with the Fairchild Republic and Grumman aerospace corporations. He retired from the aerospace industry in 1990 and with his wife Vi, moved to Woodstock, Georgia. He became very active in the Marine Corps community, serving for a number of years as Chairman of the Marine Corps Coordinating Council of Greater Atlanta. General Johnson was a Charter Member of the Marine Corps League Woodstock Detachment 1311. He actively participated in many of its events and was instrumental in the ongoing success of the Detachment. General Johnson was loved, admired and respected as a Marine and as a true gentleman by all of those who knew him.
General Johnson enjoyed playing golf, and was an active member of the Towne Lake Hills Country Club, Woodstock, GA, where he hosted an annual Golf Tournament for the USMC Coordinating Council of Greater Atlanta. He and Vi enjoyed gardening and home life in the Towne Lake community of Woodstock.