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Cpt. Theodore Johnson Jr., USN (Ret.)


1922 - 2017 Obituary Condolences
Cpt. Theodore Johnson Jr., USN (Ret.) Obituary
Cpt. Theodore Johnson, Jr. USN (Ret.)

Captain Theodore Rogness Johnson, Jr., USN (Ret.) passed away at his home in Costa Mesa, CA on 20 March 2017. He was 94 years old. Born in Sioux Falls, South Dakota to Theodore Rogness Johnson, Sr. and Lucille (Emler) Johnson, he graduated from Washington High School in 1940 where he was President of College Club, Monogram winner of the Football Squad, Debate Squad, Student Council, Secretary of I.R.C., and Hi-Y. He placed second in the state debate contest, state extemporaneous contest, and composed two original orations. He graduated from Yale University (BA English, 1944) where he was on the College Football team, manager of 150-pound crew (awarded major "Y" with crossed oars), and Yale Glee Club. He received his congressional appointment to the United States Naval Academy in November 1942 and graduated Class of 1947 as a member of the 22nd Company (BS Marine Engineering).

Upon graduation from the Academy, he was assigned duties as Gunnery Officer aboard USS KEARSARGE (CVA-33) followed by a tour aboard USS SAN JOAQUIN COUNTY (LST-1122) as Operations Officer and Navigator. He was a special warfare qualified Underwater Demolition Team (UDT) Officer and SCUBA Diver (amphibious base Coronado, CA) who served with UDT THREE as well as a Platoon Officer to UDT-TWELVE in Korea and staff of COMUD Unit One as Operations and Planning Officer and as Staff Secretary. In 1954, he was the Commanding Officer of the USS DES PLAINES RIVER (LFR-412) and the minesweeper USS PERSISTENT (MSO-491) upon its commission in 1956. In 1958, he was assigned to the Bureau of Naval Personnel followed by a tour as the X.O. aboard the USS HARRY E. HUBBARD (DD-748) in 1961. In 1962, he began another double tour as Commanding Officer, first aboard the USS FLOYD B. PARKS (DD-884), and secondly, aboard USS ERNEST G. SMALL (DDR-838). In 1964, he attended the National War College and returned to the Bureau of Naval Personnel as the Navy's principal Liaison and Briefing Officer for the Special Sub Committee of the House Armed Service Committee on Enlisted Promotion Policy Review. Capt. Johnson served two tours in Vietnam. First, in 1969, he assumed command of Destroyer Division 132 as Commodore until 1971 and secondly, in 1972 as Commodore of Destroyer Squadron 31.

He is the recipient of the Legion of Merit (2) with Combat "V", Bronze Star, Meritorious Service Medal, Combat Action Military Ribbon and 23 others.

Upon his retirement after 28 years of active duty in June 1974, Capt. Johnson returned to Costa Mesa, CA where he was active in the Republican Party as President of the Costa Mesa Republican Assembly and served on the Republican Central Committee. Into his 60's, he completed 26 marathons before joining United States Master Swimming where he ranked in the Top 10 for 17 years/77 individual events and was an All American (Long Distance) for 13 years and All-Star Honors (Long Distance) for 2 years. At age 70 with a cry of "Damn the lactic acid, full speed ahead", Capt. Johnson won the National Title for his age group for the 5 mile Rough Water Swim in San Pedro, CA. At age 82, he won his final National Title in the 10K Long Distance swim.

He is predeceased by his wife of 54 years, Frances (Floriano) Johnson who was a Lt. in the Navy Nurse Corps, San Diego, CA, his eldest child Eugenie C. Johnson, and his brother Sewell ("Sully") Johnson (Lt. Col. US Army, USMA West Point Class of 1946). He is survived by his children Theodore Rogness Johnson III of Costa Mesa, Brian St. G. Johnson of Costa Mesa, Michelle C. Johnson of Irvine, and Monique P. Johnson of Los Angeles.

Memorial services will be conducted at the Chapel at Fort Meyer later this summer followed by internment with full military honors at Arlington National Cemetery. Memorial donations may be made to the Navy SEAL Foundation, 1619 D Street, Virginia Beach, VA 23459.
Published in The Argus Leader from Apr. 9 to Apr. 10, 2017
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