JOHNSON, MAYNARD LEROY PAUL, Captain, # 0-663272, USAAF

 

Maynard L. P. Johnson was born on 20 May 1918 in Illinois to (former Winnebago County Sheriff) Paul Frank Johnson (1893-1972) and Anna Sophia (Freeding) Johnson (1894-1951) (Sweden). Siblings were Milton Arthur Johnson (1921-1983), Paul Johnson (1923-    ), Dorothy Camilla Johnson (1924-2013), Martin Robert Johnson (1925-1995), Dean Wilton Johnson (1927-1994). He graduated from Rockford High School. He was married to Jane (Wantz) Johnson.

 

He first enlisted in the Illinois National Guard, 108th Quartermaster Regiment, Co. E, and served with the motor pool at Camp Grant, Illinois. He and his unit was inducted and he was transferred to the USAAF in Rockford, Illinois, on 5 March 1941 and began training about 14 January 1942. He completed bombardier training through advanced schools on the B-24 Liberator about 16 August 1942. He earned his commission and wings. He was sent overseas to India and China. On 15 September 1943 a B-24J Liberator, “Daisy May,” # 41-24218, assigned to 14th Air Force, 308th Bomb Group, 373rd Bomb Squadron, Yangkai, China, departed the airfield to bomb Haiphong, French Indochina (Annam or Vietnam). The flight of five of seven B-24s (two were unable to take off) were to bomb the cement plant. Planners were unaware of enemy fighters that had been brought in and were nearby. The B-25s had no fighter cover and were attacked by about 50 enemy fighters over Haiphong at about 8,000’ altitude. A crew reported that they saw 41-24218 going down in a spin, its bomb bay door close, and no parachutes were seen. Capt. Don B. Smith, 0-793188 reported that he saw the B-24 flip inverted and crash into the Gulf of Tonkin. There was an explosion when it impacted the water. The body of TSgt Pershke was recovered by French who saw the crash. The rest of the formation parted and dropped their bombs in the Gulf of Tonkin to improve their chances of escaping the many enemy fighters. He is remembered on the tablets of the missing in the Manila American Cemetery & Memorial, Philippines. His remains were recovered and buried in the Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington, Virginia, on 11 November 1947 (Sec. 12, Site 3066). He was awarded the Air Medal and the Purple Heart.

 

His brother, Milton A. Johnson, born 3 May 1921, served in the U.S. Army from 10 November 1942 to 9 January 1946. He died 18 July 1983.

 

His brother, Marvin R. Johnson, born 31 May 1925, served in the U.S. Navy from 4 October 1943 to 15 December 1945. He died 29 October 1995.