Colonel Milton Wayne Johnson was born 16 October 1918 in Roff, OK. He graduated from Roff High School in 1936 and joined the Oklahoma National Guard. He graduated from Oklahoma A&M University in 1940, was commissioned in the Army Reserve, entered active duty and completed flight training in 1942. Johnson was assigned to the new 417th Bombardment Group (L) and deployed to New Guinea in late 1943, flying the Douglas A-20, a light low-level bomber/attack aircraft. He flew 107 combat missions and was awarded the Silver Star medal for gallantry three times, the Distinguished Flying Cross, the Purple Heart, and received credit for the destruction of an armed enemy aircraft. On 2 January 1945, he became the Commanding Officer of 417th and was awarded the Legion of Merit.
On 7 January 1945, Lieutenant Colonel Johnson led a 72-plane low-level line abreast bombing formation over heavily defended Clark Field. For this action he was awarded the Silver Star Medal. His citation reads in part: “For gallantry in action… this devastating raid was one of the most severe single blows delivered to the Japanese land-based airpower in the Philippine Islands and helped prepare the way for American liberation of Luzon.”
Upon his return to the United States, he served as Professor of Military Science with the Air Force ROTC program at the University of North Dakota. Colonel Johnson later served in the Korean War for 17 months. He completed 55 combat missions and received two additional awards of the Distinguished Flying Cross and the Bronze Star Medal.
Colonel Johnson was president of his 1955 class at the Armed Forces Staff College, served three years in the Pentagon, and completed his career as the Director of Maintenance at the Air Defense Command at Colorado Springs, CO, retiring in 1961 and later moved back to Roff, OK. Johnson died in 2003 and is buried in Memorial Park Cemetery, Tulsa, OK.