Beaufort’s Ray Johnson, 74, enlisted in the United States Army in 1967 at Fort Benning, Ga. He is a veteran of the Vietnam War, Central America combat operations, and the Iraq War. He attended Basic Combat Training at Fort Benning and graduated from Army flight school in 1968. He served in the U.S. Army and Army National Guard from 1967 to 2007.

Ray Johnson, Iraq

Working closely with the CIA, he flew, as a pilot and instructor pilot for U.S. Special Forces Long Range Recon Patrols (LRRPS) missions into Cambodia and Laos in 1968 and 1969 and was awarded a Bronze Star for valor. He later served in Central America where he conducted combat and humanitarian operations. After America was attacked on Sept. 11, 2001, Ray was again called to duty and deployed to the combat zone. However, this time he deployed with the Virginia Army National Guard as a Blackhawk combat helicopter instructor pilot and tactical operations officer in Iraq.

Ray Johnson, Vietnam

So, in 2005 at the age of 59, Johnson left his civilian job to fight the war on terrorism. Johnson had parallel careers as a Maryland State Highway Patrol as a Patrolman and Helicopter Pilot and as an Army Master Aviator. After his 43 years of Army service he retired from the U.S. Army/Guard as a Chief Warrant Officer — 5 and from the Maryland State Police with 23 years of service. He then worked briefly for the FAA and as a Medical Evacuation Pilot. After moving to Beaufort he joined the Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office as a Deputy, where he works today.

– Compiled by John Chubb, American Legion Post 9. For nominations, contact jechubb1@gmail.com.

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