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General Earl Johnson ’38

Here I sit trying to organize a boat load of photo CDs scattered all over my desk.  In the process I came across a CD marked only as “Punk” – sent to me months ago.  It immediately took me back to September 2002…

I was the lucky one.  Steve Charles, our exceptional Wabash Magazine editor, was traveling to interview Major General Earl “Punk” Johnson ’38, class agent and legend.  While Steve did his usual great job of interviewing General Johnson, I sat and listened like a little kid.

General Johnson, Wabash graduate and Air Force aviator, told stories about WWII that had me sitting on the edge of my seat.  I was amazed at his recall – if the mission was on a Friday afternoon, he told us the date!  General Johnson recalled training the aircrews whose missions would eventually bring the war in the Pacific to a speedy halt.  He talked about flak so thick over Japan you could walk on it.  He remembered the smallest details…

Steve Charles, on the way back to Indiana, asked why I called him “General Johnson” and not just “Punk”.  After all, I encouraged everyone to call me “Tom” or preferably “Grunge”.  I told Steve I just couldn’t call him anything but “General”…it just wouldn’t be right…or proper.

Major General Earl Johnson…one great guy…what a Wabash man.  I just wish I could have flown with him…in a fighter, of course.

Back to the CDs…