JAMES TROY JOHNSON, "Old J.T.", Wilmington, N. C., born 20 March 1920, married Mattie Belle Bridges of Terrell County Georgia 22 Dec. 1945 (two full grown sons of which they are very proud), retired from military service (Reg. Col.) 31 October 1968.
After high school graduation, 1937, worked for A.C.L. Railroad 4 years (one year in Orlando, Fla.). There were nearly two years National Guard duty, and flivver plane flying via 1940 CPT program and Aviation Cadet Class 42-F. Assigned to newly activated 316th Fighter Squadron (P-40 aircraft), at Norfolk, VA July 1942.
Dec 1942, the Squadron air echelon was C-54 "airlifted" to the Gold Coast of Africa. J.T. and most of the pilots twice ferried P-40's across Africa to Cairo, Egypt.
March 1943, first combat west of Tripoli, Libya (Mareth Line); close support for the British Eighth Army. 165 missions later (Tunisia, Sicily. Italy), and after a short trip Stateside, Capt. J.T. was appointed Commander 316th (Hell's Belles) Squadron - early Dec.1944, Dole-Tavaux, France.
First duty as Commander was to check out in a new P-47, #70. The cockpit was so quiet compared to a P-40, it was unnerving.
36 Jug missions to VE-Day, of the same dive-bombing, strafing, close support and train busting variety, were no less dangerous, but the Jug was a better aircraft for the job, -- and tough! Sorties total 201; two ME-109 kills and one probable.
Post-war duty assignments included AMC/AFLC (jet engine overhaul business), Cmd and Staff School, AFIT (Univ. of Ill, Acctg and Mgmt, and Univ. of Md. BS Mil. Sci.) USAF Staff (field Mtn.), BMD (DSC/M, Atlas, Titan, and early Minuteman site activation logistics.)
A career highlight was the F-105 System Manager job 1965-67 (AFLC/SMAMA), while the Thunderchief was doing most of the tough work in North Vietnam. After the high pressure development, test and A/C modification for RHAW and Wild Weasel, J.T. was honored by charter membership #4 in the Wild Weasel Society.
Service awards include: Silver Star, Legion of Merit, Distinguished Flying Cross, Bronze Star, Three Purple Hearts, Air Medal (with ten clusters), French Croix de Guerre (Ordre de la Palme), and a Ballistic Missile Badge.
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