Lt. Rod Johnson's Photos


Flip Coyne's photos
James Crawford's photos
Rod Johnson's Photos
Jeff Justice's photos
Virgil Koenig's photos
Jack Moss's photos
Norm Reichwald's Photos
Ron Spjeldet's photos
Harry Williams' photos


This photo page is rather large and was broken down into smaller sections; Rods career, Santa Barbara, the Philippines, Okinawa, Saipan and aboard the USS Gilbert Islands. 
Also, you'll be asked to click on an image to see a slide shows on a separate page.  Look for the heavier border around these picture links. 

Lt. Johnson's career
Selection 1 shows Lt. Johnson at various stages of his USMC career.  Photos are thumbnails... click on one to see it full size.

The dapper civilian.

Rod's parents Mr & Mrs. Oscar E. Johnson, Minnesota

1943 training school at Iowa City IA.

Guard duty in Iowa

January 1943 in Iowa

Pilot training at Corpus Christi NTC.

This may be graduation photo after pilot training

Bus trip in VMF-512

I believe this is from Pollocksville.

From VMF-512

At Hotel Waikiki

Santa Barbara
These 3, all dated January 1945, were taken in Santa Barbara.  I don't know if Lt. Johnson crashed plane EE66.  Here are some 512 pilots relaxing.

The Philippines
In July 1945 after some rough missions the carrier put in to Samar in the Philippines.  In the first of several galleries from this stop fresh fruit was an attraction.

512 pilots

Fruit Stand

Fruit on display

More fresh fruit

Filipino house



Rod wandering

Wayne Klever, 512 pilot

Jerome Windham, 512 pilot

The fight for Manila left the city in ruins.  Here Rod chronicles some of the destruction. Click on this photo-link to see the slide show.

This fancy dwelling was left unscathed... I wonder why.

The carrier was based at San Pedro, Samar very close to the big US  air base at Tacloban.  These views are of the airfield and harbor.

The last set of photos from the Philippines has a few random scenes.  I'm not sure about the POW camp - it may be on Okinawa.

Allies Restaurant



Local shops

Movie theater(?) and optical shop

POW compound

Pow compound

The next major stop was Okinawa, from Sept to mid-Oct 1945.  The first slides show the Marine Corps cemetery, a reminder of the high cost of the battle.  Click on this photo-link to visit that slide show. 


The next group depict scenes from walking about.  Included are Okinawa burial sites, combat destruction, and a few remaining structures.

'BAKA' suicide bomb

The men of VMF-512 are out and about.

Probably a reunion with friends

Lawrence 'Pappy' Haynes

Pappy Haynes

Rod Johnson




Rod with jack Moss (r)

Lt. Whalen of VMTB-143

The carrier was sent to Saipan mid-Oct, its last overseas base before returning home. 

Base overview

Island cliffs

Quonset huts

Tent Camp

Doc Gist

seated left to right: McCaul 143, Doc Gist, Whalen 143. Standing, unknown

Norm Reichwald 512

Norm Reichwald 512

left to right: Williams 512, McCaul 143, Doc Gist

USS Gilbert Islands
The last section of Rod Johnson's photos is from the USS Gilbert Islands.  The slide show depicts parked aircraft.  However planes parked on the ground, probably Saipan, are included here to keep these interesting photos in one section.   Click on this small picture to see the slide show of Rod's aircraft photos.

Carrier operations in this slide show depict launch, recovery and queuing up.  I especially like the Corsair launch as the empty ocean in front of the just launched plane conveys the feeling of flying into the vast Pacific.  Click on this photo-link to get to the slide show.

Lt. Johnson has some snapshots of the carrier too. Click on a thumbnail to see it full size.

John L. Fuller was a civilian  assigned to VMF-512 as a "Rocket Sight Technician".  Mr. Fuller was popular with the pilots and here Maj. Baesler makes him an honorary member of the squadron, July 5, 1945.  The rockets were developed by Cal Tech and perhaps Mr. Fuller trained there.  I checked with the Cal Tech archivist and registrar's offices in Pasadena but no record was found of him as a student.  Please let me know if you have post-war info about him.

On one of the June raids against the Sakishima Islands Lt. Windham's engine quit as he was making his landing approach.  The F4U went down but fortunately Lt. Windham was rescued and returned to the carrier.  His fellow pilots prepared a makeshift sign welcoming home "Big Meat". 

The 2 LSOs, Captains Tutton and Fidler, were respected by all.  One pilot told me they never bailed out (jumped into a safety net) and they always stuck with a plane until the landing or wave off.  Both men were former F4U pilots in VMF-214 when it was known as the Swashbucklers.  You can see more close-ups on Captain Fidler's photo page here.

Here are the other men in Lt. Johnson's USS Gilbert Islands photos.  If you know any of the unknowns please let me know their names so I can fill them in.

Robert McCann, 512 pilot

Arlo Southwick (l) and Earl Hopp, 512 pilots

(l to r) LSOs Marshall Tutton and John Fidler, unknown



Norman Reichwald, 512 pilot



Finally, pictures of Lt. Rodney Johnson on the carrier bring this photo album to a close. The Marines from Minnesota are (l to r) Sgt. Philip Miller (143 turret gunner), Lt. Johnson, Maj. Elton Mueller (512 pilot), Maj. Blaine Baesler (512 pilot & CO), Lt. Francis McCaul (143 pilot) and M/T Sgt. Stanley Groth (512).

Certificate for crossing the equator

In the cockpit

Marines from Minnesota

Rod and the F4U 'Susie Q'

Promotion: fellow 512 pilots admire Rod's new rank.

Thank you Harriet Johnson for sharing Rod's great collection with us!

Click here to return to the VMF-512 photo album page

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This site was last updated 11/26/07