George A. Johnson (DE-583)
George Alfred Johnson, born in Fleetwood, Pa., 26 September 1922, enlisted in the Marine Corps 28 January 1942. He served at Parris Island, S.C., and Quantico, Va., before sailing for the Pacific in April 1942. Attached to the 1st Marine Raider Battalion, Private Johnson participated in the invasion of Tulagi, Solomon Islands, 7 August 1942. During mop-up operations 2 days later, his squad came under rifle fire from a sniper's nest in a nearby cave. Private Johnson rushed to the mouth of the cave and continued to throw in grenades until he was killed, allowing his squad to advance. For his indomitable fighting spirit and outstanding bravery, Private Johnson was posthumously awarded the Silver Star.
George A. Johnson (DE-583) was laid down by Bethlehem-Hingham Shipyard, Hingham, Mass., 24 November 1943; launched 12 January 1944; sponsored by Mrs. Alfred R. Johnson, Private Johnson's mother; and commissioned 15 April 1944, Lt. Comdr. Alvin Robinson in command.
After shakedown off Bermuda, George A. Johnson departed New York 24 June 1944 to escort a convoy bound for Bizerte, Tunisia. Despite several encounters with German aircraft off the North African coast, the convoy reached Bizerte 14 July. She then returned to New York for exercises and upkeep before departing Norfolk 2 September and joining another Mediterranean-bound convoy. This time the ships steamed to Palermo, Sicily, arriving 23 September. She next joined a westbound convoy 28 September and arrived New York 17 October.
After preparing for duty in the Pacific, she departed New York 3 November and steamed via the Panama Canal to Hollandia, New Guinea, where she arrived 24 December. George A. Johnson carried out vital tasks of escorting and protecting supply convoys from New Guinea to Allied bases in the Philippines. Departing Mois Woendi 4 January 1945, she joined cargo ships bound for Lingayan Gulf, Luzon. Four Japanese suicide planes attacked the convoy 12 January; but, under cover of excellent antiaircraft fire of George A. Johnson and other escorts, the entire convoy reached Lingayen Gulf the next day.
George A. Johnson engaged in patrol and convoy duties in the Philippines until 26 January 1945, when she supported landings at San Antonio, Luzon. After this operation, she resumed convoy escort duty out of Leyte Gulf, steaming to Ulithi, Hollandia, and Manus. Arriving Hollandia from Leyte Gulf 27 April, she remained there until August.
Returning to the Philippines after the Japanese capitulation, George A. Johnson departed Manila 4 September for Jinsen, Korea, to join Admiral Kinkaid in Rocky Mount (AGC-3). The force then set course for the Yangtze River 15 September and on 19 September were the first American ships since 1941 to enter this great portal to China. Continuing to Shanghai, George A. Johnson and other units of the 7th Fleet were greeted enthusiastically by the Chinese people as they aided in the reoccupation of Shanghai and establishment of the Yangtze Patrol.
Her war service completed, George A. Johnson departed for Okinawa 11 October. From there she steamed via Pearl Harbor to San Diego, arriving 5 November. She remained at San Diego and decommissioned 31 May 1946. In August, however, she was assigned to the 12th Naval District as a training ship. She served out of commission in this capacity until 29 September 1950 when she was placed in commission in reserve as a training ship. Until late 1957 George A. Johnson trained reservists, making occasional cruises off the California coast. She decommissioned in September 1957, and entered the Pacific Reserve Fleet at Mare Island, Calif. Her name was struck from the Navy List 1 November 1965. At present she is berthed at Mare Island, awaiting sale for scrapping.