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First Name: Roy

Last Name: Johnson

Birthplace: Eunice, LA, USA

Gender: Male

Branch: Navy (present)


Middle Name: Lee

Date of Birth: 18 March 1906

Date of Death: 20 March 1999

Rank or Rate: Admiral

Years Served: 1929-1967
Roy Lee Johnson

Graduate, U.S. Naval Academy, Class of 1929

•  World War II (1941 - 1945)
•  Korean War (1950 - 1953)


Roy Lee Johnson

Admiral, U.S. Navy

Roy Lee Johnson was born on 18 March 1906 in Eunice, LA, to John Edward and Hetty Mae Long Johnson. He was the eldest of 12 children.

Roy was appointed to the U.S. Naval Academy as a Midshipman on 15 June 1925. At Annapolis he played varsity baseball and was on the staff of the Academy Yearbook, the Lucky Bag. He graduated from the Academy on 6 June 1929 and married Margaret Louise Gross on the same day.

His first assignment as a junior officer was aboard the battleship USS Tennessee (BB-43). In May 1930, he was transferred to the battleship USS West Virginia (BB-48) for duty on the Staff of Commander Battleship Divisions, Battle Fleet.

During 1930, he underwent preliminary flight training at the Naval Air Station North Island, CA. On 28 January 1931 he began flight training at Naval Air Station Pensacola, FL, known as the "Cradle of US Naval Aviation." One year later he was designated a Naval Aviator.

In June 1940, he was ordered to Patrol Squadron Twelve and on 28 March 1941 he was assigned to the Bureau of Aeronautics Navy Department in Washington, DC.

World War II

He remained with the Bureau through the early portion of World War II and in May 1943 he was transferred to Fleet Air Command, Naval Air Station Quonset Point as Commander Carrier Air Group Two. In early 1944, the Air Group joined the aircraft carrier USS Hornet (CV-12).

Johnson later became the Executive Officer of Hornet , which would later become known as the "Grey Ghost." As Air Group Commander ("CAG"), he directed and led attacks against Japanese forces at Palau, Woleai, Wake Island, and Truk, striking against enemy aircraft, airfields, shipping and shore installations. For his service as Air Group Commander he was awarded the Air Medal. Later, he received the Bronze Star and a second Legion of Merit Medal, with Combat "V" for his service in action which included campaigns against Japanese forces in the Philippines, Iwo Jima and Okinawa. He also wore a Presidential Unit Citation, which was awarded to Hornet for her part in these campaigns.

Post-WWII Service

On 3 October 1945, he was assigned to the office of the Joint Chiefs of Staff where he served until July 1947, when he became the Aviation Operations Officer on the Staff of Commander Second Fleet in Norfolk, VA.

In January 1950, he was assigned as Training Officer on the Staff of the Chief of Naval Air Reserve Training at Naval Air Station Glenview, IL.

Korean War

On 15 November 1951, during the Korean War, Johnson became the Commanding Officer of the escort carrier USS Badoeng Strait (CVE-116); affectionately known by her crew as the "Bing Ding." She was awarded the Navy Unit Commendation and he was her "CO" until July 1952.

Post-Korean War - Mid-1950s

In July 1952, he was assigned to the National War College in Washington for a year's course in Modern Warfare Techniques and Strategies.

For two years after completing the War College program, he served as the head of the Air Weapons System Analysis Staff and in the office of the Deputy Chief of Naval Operations, (Air). In May 1955 he reported to Norfolk, VA, as the Prospective Commanding Officer, (PCO) of the Navy's first "supercarrier" that was under construction.

Johnson became the first Commanding Officer of the 60,000-ton attack aircraft carrier USS Forrestal (CVA-59) on her commissioning day, 1 October 1955, at Newport News Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Company in Newport News, VA.

Flag Officer Assignments

On 1 January 1956, he was promoted to the rank of Rear Admiral. In June, Johnson was named Director of the Long Range Objectives Group, in the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations.

In December 1958, he assumed command of Carrier Division Four and a year later, on 25 January 1960, he was named Assistant Chief of Naval Operations for Plans and Policy. On 15 December 1961, he was promoted to Vice Admiral and a month later became Deputy Director of Joint Strategic Target Planning, headquartered at Offutt AFB, Omaha, NE. On 30 July 1963, he assumed the duties of Deputy Commander-in-Chief of the U.S. Pacific Fleet, at Pearl Harbor, HI. Admiral Johnson served as Commander U.S. Seventh Fleet for eleven months (15 June 1964 - 1 March 1965). For this service, he was awarded the Distinguished Service Medal.

On 31 March 1965, Johnson was promoted to Admiral and assigned as Commander-in-Chief, U.S. Pacific Fleet until his retirement from the Navy on 1 December 1967.

Medals and Awards

Navy Distinguished Service Medal
Legion of Merit with Combat Valor Device (2 Awards)
Bronze Star Medal
Air Medal
Presidential Unit Citation
American Defense Medal with Fleet Clasp
American Campaign Medal
Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal
World War II Victory Medal
United Nations Service Medal
Philippine Liberation Medal with 2 Stars
Korean Presidential Unit Citation

In Retirement

Admiral Johnson retired to Virginia Beach, VA. He was active in local civic affairs, as chairman of the board of Virginia Beach General Hospital and chairman of numerous Naval organizations, including the U.S. Naval Academy Alumni Association and the Golden Eagles.


He and his wife, Margaret, had two children. Their son, Roy L. Johnson, Jr., born 25 February 1939, predeceased them in 1995. Their daughter, Jo-Anne L. Coe, (Jo-Anne Lee Johnson, born 19 July 1933) died 27 September 2002. She served as the first woman Secretary of the U.S. Senate and as Chief of Staff to Senator Bob Dole.

Death and Burial

Admiral Roy Lee Johnson died on Navy Day, 20 March 1999, two days after his 93rd birthday. He is buried at Woodlawn Memorial Gardens in Norfolk, VA, in the Avenue of Flags.

He was preceded in death by his wife, Margaret Louise Gross Johnson on 4 July 1998.

Honoree ID: 569   Created by: MHOH




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