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Hilding Roy Johnson Jr


On Christmas Day, 1944, a P-47, piloted by second Lt. Hilding Roy Johnson, crashed while on a mission in support of Allied efforts during the Battle of the Bulge.

Jan. 9, 2012


The Department of Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office (DPMO) announced today that the remains of a U.S. serviceman from World War II have been identified and are being returned to the family with full military honors.

Army Air Forces 2nd Lt. Hilding R. Johnson, 20, of Sacramento, Calif., will be returned to his family this week to be honored in a private memorial ceremony this summer.
On Dec. 25, 1944, Johnson was flying a bombing mission near St. Vith, Belgium, when his P-47D Thunderbolt aircraft crashed after being struck by German anti-aircraft fire.
The pilot of an additional U.S. aircraft flying in the mission reported that no parachute was observed when Johnson’s aircraft went down. After the war, an investigation conducted by U.S. Army Graves Registration personnel was not able to locate the crash site.

In August 2006, a group of German citizens located the crash site on the edge of a forest near Setz, Belgium. The group notified Johnson’s niece, and together they excavated the site and recovered human remains in 2008. The remains were turned over to the Joint Personnel Accounting Command (JPAC) for further analysis and DNA testing. In 2011, a JPAC team completed the excavation of the crash site and recovered additional human remains, aircraft wreckage, and military equipment. The serial number on a .50-caliber machine gun found at the site correlated with a weapon on Johnson’s aircraft.

Among forensic identification tools and circumstantial evidence, scientists from JPAC used mitochondrial DNA — which matched that of Johnson’s niece and grandniece — in the identification of his remains.


Units served with

  • 9th Air Force
  • 366th Fighter Group

    366th Fighter Group

    The Group moved in England over the New Year of 1944, setting up home first at Membury and then at Thruxton. The pilots' first mission was a fighter sweep of the French coast in March 1944 and from then until D-Day that June the ground supported Allied...

  • 391st Fighter Squadron


Associated Place

  • Thruxton

    Military site : airfield
    Thruxton was developed for use by Army Co-Operation aircraft, before being upgraded to a bomber airfield. The 366th Fighter Group moved in in early 1944, flying missions in support of the build up to D-Day, before moving to the continent with other...


Event Location Date
Born Sacramento, CA, USA 6 November 1924

Son of David Gustaf and Emily Christine [Jackson] Johnson.

Died St Vith, Belgium 25 December 1944

On Christmas Day, 1944, a P-47, piloted by second Lt. Hilding Roy Johnson, crashed while on a mission in support of Allied efforts during the Battle of the Bulge.

Buried 3816 Penn Ave N, Minneapolis, MN 55412, USA 2012

Crystal Lake Cemetery Minneapolis
Hennepin County, MN


Date Contributor Update
02 January 2018 22:38:42 Al_Skiff Changes to firstname, suffix, biography, events, unit associations and place associations

Date Contributor Update
21 January 2015 17:12:16 Gilad_Bashan Changes to middlename

Fields of Honor - Database

Date Contributor Update
21 January 2015 17:10:17 Gilad_Bashan Created entry with surname, middlename, firstname, suffix, nationality, service number, highest rank, role, biography, events and unit associations

The Sacramento Bee Newspaper

Defense Prisoner of War/Missing Personnel Office

Fields of Honor - Database

In this database, personal memorial pages can be found for the large majority of the about 24,000 American soldiers who are buried or listed at the Walls of the Missing at the overseas American War Cemeteries Ardennes, Henri-Chapelle, and Margraten. The database is a tribute to those who sacrificed their own lives for the freedom of others during World War II.