Wednesday, July 10, 2013
Bishop Johnie Johnson of Goose Creek was among a distinguished group of World War II veterans who took part in last month’s Honor Flight Lowcountry’s trip to Washington, DC.
Honor Flight’s mission is to help World War II veterans visit the nation’s capital and specifically the memorial that stands in their honor.
During Johnson’s trip, the group visited the World War II Memorial, the Korean and Vietnam Memorial, the Lincoln Memorial, Iwo Jima Memorial, and the FDR Memorial.
Johnson will be celebrating his 90th birthday in November. He is the youngest of three remaining World War II African Americans in Goose Creek; Mr. George Hargrove Sr. (U.S. Navy) is 94 and Mr. Samuel Jefferson (U.S. Army) is 93.
Larry R. Gourdine was the only Vietnam veteran who traveled to Washington with Johnson’s group.
Johnson was born in Summerton, and at an early age he learned the significance of hard work from his parents. Along with his parents and brothers they moved from Summerton to sharecrop for the Meade family at Marrington Plantation in Goose Creek.
His sharecropping part of his life ended when he was drafted into the United States Navy in 1944. Shortly thereafter, he became Seaman First Class Johnson, serving his country well.
Johnson recently shared his thoughts on his service and life.
“After the bombing of Pearl Harbor I can recall boarding the ‘Troop Train’ and we were headed for Great Lake, Illinois,” he said. “Our commander was Commander Horrington. It was a two-day trip that I never would forget because we ran out of food along the way … we eventually ate but our commander made sure he ate long before us.”
Johnson credited a fellow soldier he called C. Johnson for “talking about the goodness of the Lord. It changed my whole life.”
As a great leader over the years, Johnson continues to be a beacon of light in the Goose Creek Community and surrounding areas. For his love, compassion, family oriented experiences and cultural understanding of Goose Creek, he has been cited numerous times for his leadership, including by Goose Creek Mayor Michael Heitzler who declared October 2, 2011 Bishop Johnie Johnson day in The City of Goose Creek.
He received additional citations and proclamations from The Goose Creek NAACP and a host of other elected officials including the governor.
“The trip was a blessed experience for me,” said Johnson.
Bishop Johnson is married to Lady Mary Ann Ellis. He is the Pastor of Calvary COGIC in Goose Creek, and is also the South Carolina Jurisdictional Prelate for The Church Of God In Christ. Bishop Charles E. Blake is the Presiding Bishop.