Millard J. Johnson

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JOHNSON MILLARD JERRY JOHNSON "Johnny" Rear Admiral, SC, USN Passed away on Saturday, March 12, 2011 at the age of 76 at the Orlando Veterans Administration Community Living Center after a lengthy illness. He is survived by his wife, Anita T. Johnson (Hann) of Port Royal, Newfoundland, Canada; son, Barry C. D. Johnson of Orlando, Florida; son, Shawn C. D. Johnson, daughter-in-law, Sharon G. Johnson and grandchildren, Natalie, Quinn and Hope Johnson of Winchester, Massachusetts; son, Quin B. Johnson of Jupiter, Florida; daughter, Karla L.D. Bennett (Johnson), son-in-law, James F. Bennett and grandchildren, Owen, Sean, and Matilda Bennett of Hummelstown, Pennsylvania; brother, Ben Johnson and sister-in-law, Ruth Johnson of Sand Gap, Kentucky; and brother, Otis Johnson and sister-in-law, Naunerl Johnson of Berea, Kentucky. Johnson was a man borne from a commitment to excellence and a dedication to his country, which ensured that Rear Admiral Millard Jerry Johnson would rise through the ranks of the United States Navy with accelerated or "below the zone" promotions at each step of his distinguished and highly decorated military career. Johnson enlisted in the U.S. Navy because he was initially denied a commission due to his young age, even though he had already graduated from college. Rear Admiral Johnson eventually attended Officer's Candidate School and was commissioned an Ensign in the U.S. Navy in 1954, at the age of 19, making him one of the youngest junior officers in U.S. Naval history. He rose through the ranks of the Supply Corps and ultimately achieved the rank of Rear Admiral at the young age of 45. Rear Admiral Johnson was born Christmas Day 1934 in Sand Gap, Kentucky to Norm and Hattie Johnson (Hurst). The son of a coal miner in eastern Kentucky, he graduated from McKee High School in McKee, Kentucky at the age of 14 and earned a Bachelor of Science degree from Berea College in Kentucky, a school for students with limited resources, while still only 18. He then began his military career as a supply officer at the U.S. Naval Station in Argentia, Newfoundland, Canada where he met and soon married his wife Anita. The couple raised four children as Rear Admiral Johnson's military service took them all over the United States. He was on the commissioning detail for the USS Independence (CVA-62) at the New York Naval Shipyard. Johnson worked as an officer in Norfolk, Virginia, Pensacola, Florida, and Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania before serving as the budget officer and financial advisor for the Defense Electronic Supply Center in Dayton, Ohio. While serving as a Special Assistant to Admiral Hyman Rickover, "the father of the nuclear Navy," Johnson was awarded the Legion of Merit Medal for successfully implementing a program to handle and document nuclear parts at the Atomic Energy Com- mission Naval Reactors Program specifically highlighting his dedication to safety and national security. Among the other numerous medals awarded to Rear Admiral Johnson were the Bronze Star with valor device for meritorious service aboard the USS Constellation (CVA-64) while in combat operations on back-to-back tours in the Vietnam War, the Meritorious Service Medal with Gold Star, the Navy Commendation Medal, and the Presidential Unit Citation Medal. In 1969, a Brigadier General in the United States Air Force wrote a seven-page letter recommending young Commander Millard Jerry Johnson for another early promotion, this time to the rank of Captain. "CDR Johnson is an officer of liberal education, refined manners, punctilious courtesy and the nicest sense of personal honor," the general wrote. "A careful assessment of his overall performance reveals the presence of an exceptionally outstanding capability and a brilliant command potential worthy of accelerated promotion and increased responsibility." At the age of 39, Rear Admiral Johnson earned a promotion to Captain and served as Executive Officer at the Naval Supply Center in Charleston, South Carolina and then Commanding Officer of the Fleet Material Support Office in Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania. His final military assignment was at the Navy Comptroller Office in Washington D.C. where he served as Assistant Comptroller and Commander of the Navy Accounting and Finance office where he was promoted to Rear Admiral, one of the youngest in the history of the U.S. Navy. Additionally, Rear Admiral Johnson was commissioned a Kentucky Colonel by the Governor of Kentucky and bestowed the honorary title of Admiral of the state of Nebraska. "My father had an amazing sense of personal honor," said Admiral Johnson's daughter, Karla Bennett. "He was tireless at his professional duties and would not quit until things were perfect." In addition to his undergraduate degree, Johnson earned a Masters degree in Business Administration from George Washington University and a Ph.D. degree in Logistics, Consulting, and Management Engineering from Pacific Western University. Rear Admiral Johnson will be buried at Arlington National Cemetery with full military honors. The date of the funeral service has not yet been set. The family requests that those persons interested in sending flowers consider instead making a donation in Rear Admiral Johnson's memory to one of the following charitable organizations: P.O. Box 96011 Washington, DC 20090-6011 Orlando VA Medical Center Program Support - Voluntary Services 5201 Raymond Street Orlando, FL 32803 Check payable to: US Department of Veterans Affairs Check memo: Resident Activities - CLC #9135 Mail to: Orlando VA Medical Center Rear Admiral Millard J. Johnson Scholarship Fund Check payable to: Berea College Check memo: Rear Admiral Millard J. Johnson Scholarship Fund Berea College CPO 2216 Berea, KY 40404Berea, KY 40404

Published in The Washington Post on Mar. 20, 2011
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