Col. Robert S. Johnson
Colonel Robert S. (Bob) Johnson of Lawton, Oklahoma, was Oklahoma's highest scoring fighter pilot of World War II, downing 28 German aircraft. His heroism and piloting skills ranked with the finest of all the fighter pilots of World War II. The painting depicts Colonel Johnson doing what he did best, shooting down the enemy while flying his Republic P-47D-21, Serial #22-5513, nicknamed "Penrod and Same' after his trusted ground crew.
On May 8, 1944, he scored his final two kills on yet another mission to Berlin and Brunswick. His report on the engagements read as follows: "About 30 Huns were over the bombers, their contrails snaking out of the sky. Smoke was coming from the bomber box and one was going down. I started after the Jerries and then saw a ME109 diving at me. I rolled and fired at it, but missed. Then he squirted at me and missed. I made another turn, and he tried to outrun me, the damned fool. He went down, rolling and turning to evade, and I hit him every half roll. When his wing came off I figured he'd had it."
Bob Johnson's last two victories equaled and then bettered the record of America's highest ranking World War I ace, Captain Eddie Rickenbacker, who had downed 26 German aircraft. The "Brass" ordered him home, effective immediately, for war bond fund raising tours, talks to factory workers and interviews. Bob Johnson was promoted to Major upon his return to America, took to the publicity circuit like a duck to water, and stayed with it. We honor Colonel Robert S. (Bob) Johnson as representative of all Oklahomans serving in the Army Air Corps during World War II.
Images are copyright of The Oklahoma State Senate Historical Preservation Fund, Inc. and the artist. Please contact Matt Duehning at 405-524-0126 or Matt.Duehning@oksenate.gov for further copyright information.