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Gerald Walter Johnson


Gerald W Johnson was the first Ace pilot of the 56th Fighter Group and the second fighter ace in the European Group. In February 1944, he was promoted to Major and became flight leader of the 63rd Fighter Squadron.

He claimed 18 victories, flew 88 missions and achieved 196 combat hours before being shot down during a strafing mission on 27 March 1944. Johnson was taken Prisoner of War and liberated in May 1945.

Following the War, Johnson remained with the 56th Fighter Group at Selfridge Field, in command of the 62nd Fighter Squadron. He enjoyed a long career with the US Air Force, commanding the 8th Air Force during the Vietnam War and retiring as Inspector General in 1974.

Retired from the USAF with the rank of Lieutenant General.

18 Destroyed-2 Probables-3 Damaged

In Memoriam

'In memory of Lt.Gen. Gerald W Johnson, USAF, a fighter pilot's fighter pilot!'
Remembered by Major General Earl G Peck, Saint Petersburg, Fl



  • Walter Frederick

    Military | First Lieutenant | Fighter Pilot | 507th Fighter Group
    1st Lt Walter R. Frederick 8th AF 56th FG 63rd. ...

Units served with

  • 56th Fighter Group

    56th Fighter Group

    Flying P-47 Thunderbolts throughout their time stationed in England, the Group, known as "the Wolfpack", had more ace pilots than any other Eighth Air Force Fighter Group. The 56th Fighter Group also destroyed more enemy aircraft in air combat than any...

  • 61st Fighter Squadron
  • 63rd Fighter Squadron


Associated Place

  • Boxted

    Military site : airfield
    Boxted was built for heavy bombers and became operational from May 1943. In the few months B-26 Marauders of the 386th Bomb Group were stationed there, there were two night attacks by the Luftwaffe. On 17 August 1943, one man was killed when bombs...

  • Halesworth

    Military site : airfield
    Halesworth was constructed in 1942-1943. Initially planned as a bomber airfield, its location close to the Suffolk coast meant that it was in an ideal position to operate escort fighters, where range was a critical factor. Consequently, the 56th...

  • Horsham St Faith

    Military site : airfield
    Horsham St Faith was an RAF Bomber Command Station opened in June 1940. It was home to Bristol Blenheim medium-bombers, and was for a time occupied by fighters, including those of No. 19 Squadron and No. 264 Squadron. From September 1942 the airfield...

  • Kings Cliffe

    Military site : airfield
    Kings Cliffe began as a satellite air base for the Group based at nearby Wittering. The 56th Fighter Group, however, were all based at Kings Cliffe and it was here that the pilots trained in P-47 Thunderbolts and flew their first missions in the...


Event Location Date
Born Owenton, KY, USA 10 July 1919
Enlisted 29 September 1942
POW Barth, Germany 27 March 1944 – May 1945

Stalag Luft I

Died Pinellas County, FL, USA 9 September 2002
Buried 2 October 2002

Cemetery: Arlington National Cemetery
Cemetery Address: C/O Director Arlington, VA 22211
Buried At: Section 5 Site 31


Date Contributor Update
22 September 2016 14:44:54 Lucy May Changes to service number, biography, events and media associations

Gerald W Johnson retired as a Lieutenant Gen not a Major General.
Source: Gerald W. Johnson, Jr.

Date Contributor Update
16 July 2016 23:36:33 466thHistorian Changes to service number, highest rank, biography and events

"Zemke's Wolfpack" Nigel Julian & Peter Randall

Date Contributor Update
18 February 2015 16:00:25 general ira snapsorter Changes to events

Death and burial details taken from

Date Contributor Update
18 February 2015 15:52:57 general ira snapsorter Changes to highest rank, biography, awards, events and unit associations

Merged data from duplicate record to include information from :
- the records of the National Museum of the Mighty Eighth Air Force, Savannah, Georgia / self, document/MACR 3443

Date Contributor Update
25 November 2014 14:57:17 Emily Changes to memoriam

Earl G Peck, via American Air Museum Memory Book Correspondence.

Date Contributor Update
07 October 2014 11:58:24 Emily Changes to middlename, nickname, biography, awards, events, place associations and media associations

Freeman, The Mighty Eighth, p. 278

Date Contributor Update
27 September 2014 18:11:23 AAM AAM ingest

MACR 3443 / Paul Andrews, Project Bits and Pieces, 8th Air Force Roll of Honor database