Russell David Johnson joined the United States Army Air Forces as an aviation cadet and was commissioned as a second lieutenant. He flew 44 combat missions as a bombardier in B-25 bombers. While flying as a navigator in a B-25 with the 100th Bombardment Squadron, 42nd Bombardment Group, 13th Air Force, his plane and two other B-25s were shot down in the Philippines in March 1945 during a low level bombing and strafing run against Japanese targets. The planes were hit by intense flak and had to ditch in the waters off the port of Zamboanga. During the ditching, he broke both his ankles and the radioman next to him was killed. Johnson earned a Purple Heart for this mission. He was also awarded the Air Medal, the Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal with three service stars, the Philippine Liberation Ribbon with one service star, and the World War II Victory Medal. He was honourably discharged with the rank of first lieutenant on November 22, 1945.
1st Lieutenant Johnson AKA "The Professor" passed away January 16th 2014, in Bainbridge Island, Washington. He was 89 years old
Blue skies and following winds, 1st Lieutenant Johnson
On 18 Feb. 1964, the Beatles met Cassius Clay at the boxer’s training camp in Miami, FL while he was preparing for his 25 Feb. fight with the world heavyweight champion Sonny Liston.
It has been reported that Liston had first been approached about meeting the Beatles, but Liston had no interest (“I’m not posing with those sissies,” he reportedly said). The 22-year-old Clay was disliked by most reporters and was the heavy underdog in the upcoming fight (Clay was a 7-1 underdog, and 43 of the 46 sports writers covering the fight picked Liston to win) and was seeking a diversion for the press.
The Beatles arrived at the training camp and found out that Clay wasn’t there. They waited and waited and almost had to be locked in a room as Clay still didn’t show. Finally, the boxer arrived and waved the Beatles to follow him to the ring (and the photographers), saying, “Let’s go make some money.”
Clay and the Beatles clowned around in the ring for a short while and according to New York Times reporter Robert Lipsyte who was there at the time: “It was marvelous. And then it was over and they left. Cassius Clay works out. At the end he’s back in the dressing room being rubbed down after the workout. He beckoned me over because he’d seen me in the dressing room, and he said, “So, who were those little sissies?”