Lt. Col. William Thomas Johnson Jr. USAF, (Ret.), a Distinguished Veteran of Three Foreign Wars, Dies at Age 86

BY 
September 8, 2014

Lt. Col. William Thomas Johnson Jr., USAF (Ret.), D.Eng., P.E., M.ASCE, a veteran of World War II, the Korean War, and Vietnam, who was involved in the construction of many of the prominent buildings in San Antonio, Texas, passed away on August 28 at the age of 86. During the course of his illustrious career, Johnson designed and supervised the first permanent building on the Arctic floating ice pact; taught lunar soil mechanics at the U.S. Air Force Institute of Technology School of Engineering, where he accurately predicted the chemical composition of lunar soil through spectroscopic analysis or reflected lunar light, long before man’s first landing on the moon; supervised the construction of what at the time was the largest aircraft hangar in the world; and did an x-ray analysis of the entire length of the Amistad Dam. Born March 7, 1928, Johnson enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1945, at the age of 17, just as World War II was coming to a close. Assigned to Ft. Bragg, he served for 9 months before being discharged with the rank of sergeant. He subsequently enrolled at Texas A&M University, where he joined the Corps of Cadets and was inducted into the Ross Volunteers. Graduating in 1950, Johnson was commissioned in the U.S. Air Force as a 2nd lieutenant and for the next 27 years served in Korea, Germany, Spain, Vietnam, Florida, Alaska, Missouri, and Texas, where he would go on to earn his master’s degree from Texas A&M. Johnson retired from the Air Force in 1971, rising to the rank of lieutenant colonel. Throughout his distinguished military career, he earned numerous decorations, most notably the Legion of Merit, which he received while in service in Vietnam. Following his retirement, Johnson managed the San Antonio office of Texas Testing Laboratories for several years before joining the San Antonio office of Raba Kistner Engineering Consultants, Inc. He then returned to Texas A&M for a third time to receive his doctorate of engineering in 1981, and during that period served as director of Maintenance at Air Force Villages I and II before opening his own engineering firm, William T Johnson Consulting Services, Inc. Later, he was employed as a laboratory inspector and geotechnical engineering expert for the American Association of Laboratory Accreditation, where he conducted on-site laboratory inspections at several international locations, including Guam, Kuwait, and Bahrain.

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