For those who served in the RVAH Community, their families, and friends!
It is with great sadness that I share the passing of CDR Robert A. Johnson on June 7, 2020.
Bob graduated from the University of Wisconsin with a BS in Civil Engineering and a BS in Naval Science and received his commission through the NROTC program in 1957. He received his wings in 1958 and made two Westpac cruises flying the A3D Sky Warrior.
He earned an MS in Aeronautical Engineering from the US Navy Postgraduate School in 1965. He then went to NAS Sanford, and after RAG training in RVAH-3 was assigned to RVAH-13, in which he made two combat cruises in the RA-5C Vigilante, flying 109 combat missions.
After attending the US Naval Test Pilot School was assigned to the Carrier Suitability Board as a test pilot and later as Branch Head.
He returned to the Vigilante as XO, then CO of Rvah-7, and made a cruise to the Indian Ocean.
In 1974, Bob became the 18th Director of the US Naval Test Pilot School. Bob retired in 1977, and followed his Navy career with a career in aerospace serving as customer re,actions manager for the Northrop B-2 Spirit bomber program.
Bob was a major influence in my life. He married my cousin Gail in 1957, the year I entered high school. When I graduated from college, I followed his example and joined the Navy through the AOCS program. While going through NFO training at Pensacola, I visits Bob and Gail in Sanford for Christmas, and Bob enthusiastically showed me the Vigilante, the most advanced aircraft in the Navy inventory. When I got to choose which aircraft I wanted to fly in, I chose the RA-5C.
Bob provided an example to me of how to be a good officer, and also how to be a good husband (his marriage to Gail lasted 63 years to his death), and how to be a good father to his three sons.
Bob flew 46 different types of aircraft during his career and tested seven on aircraft carriers, but when discussing his flying career, the talk always returned to and centers on the RA-5C Vigilante, his favorite.
Fair winds and following seas.
A great example of great naval fliers the best of the best truly dedicated professionals ! RIP sir !!!