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Tribute To Admiral Roy Lee Johnson, Usn (Ret.)

Sen. John W. Warner

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Mr. President, our nation has lost a truly great American in the recent passing of Admiral Roy Lee Johnson, USN (Ret.), who died March 20th in Virginia Beach, Virginia at the age of 93. My Senate colleagues should know that he was the father of Jo-Anne Coe, long-time top aide to Senator Bob Dole. We all join in sending our deepest sympathy to Jo-Anne and her family.

Admiral Johnson had a distinguished Naval career of over 38 years, culminating in his appointment as Commander in Chief of U.S. Naval forces in the Pacific (CINCPACFLT) from 1965-67 at the height of the Vietnam conflict. Prior to this, he was Commander, U.S. Seventh Fleet. In his capacity, he gave the order to the USS Maddox and USS Turner Joy to fire back at Viet Cong gunboats in the Tonkin Gulf incident.

Admiral Johnson graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1929. A pioneer of naval aviation, he received his wings in 1932, and served as a flight instructor at the U.S. Navy flight school at Pensacola, Florida, in the biplane era in the early 1930's and again in the 1950's. After retirement, he served a term as president of the Early and Pioneer Naval Aviators Association, nicknamed ``The Golden Eagles'', and from 1980-81 was President of the Naval Academy Alumni Association.

During World War Two he served on the USS Hornet, which won a Presidential Unit Citation. He was awarded the Bronze Star, the Air Medal, and the Legion of Merit with gold star for his service in action which included campaigns against Japanese forces in the Philippines, Wake and Truk Islands, Iwo Jima and Okinawa. He also saw action during the Korean War, as Commanding Officer of the escort carrier USS Badoeng Strait.

In 1955 he became the first Commanding officer of the USS Forrestal (CVA 59), the first of the ``supercarriers'', receiving this coveted appointment after developing operational procedures for this new class of carrier which were still in use at least 15 years later. In this role he was promoted to Rear Admiral and later assumed command of Carrier Division Four, with the Forrestal as his flagship.

In January 1960, he was named Assistant Chief of Naval Operations for Plans and Policy. Two years later he was promoted to Vice Admiral and became the Navy's senior representative in determining U.S. air strike priorities during the Cuban Missile Crisis.

In July 1963, he became Deputy Commander in Chief of the U.S. Pacific Fleet and a year later was appointed Commander of the U.S. Seventh Fleet. For his service in these assignments he was awarded a second Distinguished Service Medal. In 1965, he was promoted to full Admiral and became CINCPACFLT. He was the last U.S. Military Governor of the Bonin Islands, which include Iwo Jima.

Admiral Johnson's exceptionally distinguished military career and achievements as a private citizen stand out as an example of the selfless devotion to our country that only a few Americans have exemplified. Hopefully, his achievements will serve as the standard for our naval officers and citizens to strive to achieve. His lasting contributions to ensuring the freedoms and greatness of our nation are his legacy. Admiral Johnson will be profoundly missed and fondly remembered by all who knew him and by others who only know of his exceptional service to our country.