CHARLES O. JOHNSON

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JOHNSON CHARLES OTIS JOHNSON Captain, USN (RET) Captain Charles (Charlie) Otis Johnson USN (RET), loving husband, father, and grandfather, died on September 21, 2013 after a courageous battle with cancer. He was 77. Born on November 27, 1935 in Soperton, Georgia and raised in Winter Park, Florida, Charlie graduated from the Citadel in 1958. While at the Citadel, he was member of the boxing team, the band and the Summeral Guards. Charlie was a thirty year veteran of the U.S. Navy. In 1959, he was commissioned as an Ensign, and his first assignment was on the minesweeper USS Advance (MSO-510) as the Mine Countermeasures Officer. During this tour he met and married his wife, Nora, in 1961. He then served as the Operations Officer on the destroyer USS Carpenter (DD-825) stationed in Honolulu, earning the Hawai'i Navy League's Junior Officer of the Year Award. Following these two sea tours and the Defense Language and Intelligence School, he served as the Assistant Naval Attaché in Ottawa, Canada. His next assignment was as the Executive Officer on the destroyer escort USS Lowe (DER-325) in Guam in 1966. During this time Charlie completed several combat maritime interdiction patrols off the coast of Vietnam. In 1967 Charlie built his reputation as an expert in anti-submarine warfare while on the intelligence watch team monitoring Soviet submarine movements in the Atlantic Ocean. Remaining in Norfolk, VA he was assigned as the commissioning Executive Officer of the frigate USS McCandless (FF-1084). Next followed a tour as the Plans, Programs and Financial Officer for the Undersea Surveillance Program (PME-124) in Washington, DC. Selected for Command at Sea, then Commander Johnson served as the Commanding Officer of the frigate USS Downes (FF-1070) in San Diego, CA in 1976. In 1977 while commanding the Downes, he deployed to the Indian Ocean conducting independent and carrier task force operations. Returning to Washington DC in 1979, Captain Johnson was the Director of the NATO Sea Sparrow Surface Missile System and Point Defense Systems Project Manager at the Naval Sea Systems Command. The Rolling Airframe Missile, pioneered under his leadership, is still in use today as a point defense system onboard U.S. Navy ships. Returning to San Diego in 1984, Charlie commanded the destroyer tender USS Cape Cod (AD-43). Captain Johnson retired from the Navy in 1989 while serving as the Material Procurement Community Manager on the staff of the Naval Military Personnel Command in Washington, DC. During his career he was awarded the Legion of Merit (two awards), the Joint Service Commendation Medal, the Navy Commendation Medal, the Navy Achievement Medal (two awards) with Combat "V", the Navy Expeditionary Medal, the National Defense Medal, the Vietnam Service Medal (with four combat stars), the Humanitarian Service Medal, the Navy "E", the Sea Service Deployment Medal, the Vietnam Gallantry Cross with Palm Unit Citation and the Republic of Vietnam Campaign Award. Throughout his life Charlie enjoyed reading, woodworking, playing the trumpet, and sharing his love of music with his children and grandchildren. He and his beloved wife, Nora, loved to sail, travel, and attend Redskins and Capitals games. To those that knew him, Charlie had a larger than life personality, and offered kindness to everyone he met. Survivors include his beloved wife of 52 years, Nora Johnson of Fairfax VA; son CAPT Mark Johnson, USN of Ellicott City, MD; daughter Heather Moul of Haymarket, VA; and four grandchildren, Gareth, Nathaniel, Ian and Natalie. An Interment Service will be held in the Spring of 2014 at Arlington National Cemetery.An Interment Service will be held in the Spring of 2014 at Arlington National Cemetery.

Published in The Washington Post on Sept. 28, 2013
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