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103-year-old World War II veteran from Navajo Nation dies

103-year-old World War II veteran from Navajo Nation dies
Posted at 10:58 AM, Dec 05, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-05 12:58:31-05

The Navajo Nation is celebrating the life of World War II veteran Fred Johnson, Sr. who passed away.

Johnson was 103-years-old when he died on Tuesday, according to a statement from Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez and Vice President Myron Lizer.

He was born in Pinon, Arizona and attended school in Ft. Wingate, New Mexico prior to his military service.

"As we mourn the loss of our Diné warrior, U.S. Army PFC Fred Johnson, we also honor and remember all his great sacrifices for our Navajo people and the entire country. During his lifetime, he helped many people through his military service and as a medicine person. He lived a long life full of love, memories, and service to our people. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and his community," said President Nez.

PFC Johnson served in the United States Army from October 1942 until December 1946 with the 132 Field Artillery during World War II in Italy, France, Germany, Holland, and Scotland.

President Nez stated that when Johnson joined the Army, he was only fluent in Navajo language, but later became fluent in English, Spanish, and French.

He was present in Berlin, Germany when the German military surrendered and witnessed the waving of white flags by the German military forces.

Following his military service, PFC Johnson began working with the Santa Fe Railroad for over 25 years until he retired. He was also a Native American Church roadman and a proud member of the Pinon Chapter Veterans Organization.

"We thank God for the life of Private First Class Johnson and all of the wonderful blessings he bestowed upon people around the world. In every aspect of his life, he was a loving and compassionate person who cared greatly for his people and his family. We ask all of our Navajo people to keep his spirit and his family in your prayers at this time," said Vice President Lizer.

PFC Johnson was married to the late Glennie Johnson for 59 years, until the time of her passing in 2007. Together they had six children and also cared for several other children from other families. They also have 32 grandchildren, 59 great-grandchildren, and 14 great great-grandchildren.

A proclamation was issued that called for flags on the Navajo Nation to be flown at half-staff on Friday, Dec. 4, 2020, in honor and memory of PFC Johnson.