Lt. Rod Johnson's Photos
photo page is rather large and was broken down into smaller sections; Rods career, Santa Barbara, the
Philippines, Okinawa, Saipan and aboard the USS Gilbert Islands.
This fancy dwelling was left unscathed... I wonder why.
The carrier was based at San Pedro, Samar very close to the big US air base at Tacloban. These views are of the airfield and harbor.
The last set of photos from the Philippines has a few random scenes. I'm not sure about the POW camp - it may be on Okinawa.
The next group depict scenes from walking about. Included are Okinawa burial sites, combat destruction, and a few remaining structures.
The men of VMF-512 are out and about.
Carrier operations in this slide show depict launch, recovery and queuing up. I especially like the Corsair launch as the empty ocean in front of the just launched plane conveys the feeling of flying into the vast Pacific. Click on this photo-link to get to the slide show.
John L. Fuller was a civilian assigned to VMF-512 as a "Rocket Sight Technician". Mr. Fuller was popular with the pilots and here Maj. Baesler makes him an honorary member of the squadron, July 5, 1945. The rockets were developed by Cal Tech and perhaps Mr. Fuller trained there. I checked with the Cal Tech archivist and registrar's offices in Pasadena but no record was found of him as a student. Please let me know if you have post-war info about him.
On one of the June raids against the Sakishima Islands Lt. Windham's engine quit as he was making his landing approach. The F4U went down but fortunately Lt. Windham was rescued and returned to the carrier. His fellow pilots prepared a makeshift sign welcoming home "Big Meat".
The 2 LSOs, Captains Tutton and Fidler, were respected by all. One pilot told me they never bailed out (jumped into a safety net) and they always stuck with a plane until the landing or wave off. Both men were former F4U pilots in VMF-214 when it was known as the Swashbucklers. You can see more close-ups on Captain Fidler's photo page here.
Here are the other men in Lt. Johnson's USS Gilbert Islands photos. If you know any of the unknowns please let me know their names so I can fill them in.
Finally, pictures of Lt. Rodney Johnson on the carrier bring this photo album to a close. The Marines from Minnesota are (l to r) Sgt. Philip Miller (143 turret gunner), Lt. Johnson, Maj. Elton Mueller (512 pilot), Maj. Blaine Baesler (512 pilot & CO), Lt. Francis McCaul (143 pilot) and M/T Sgt. Stanley Groth (512).
Thank you Harriet Johnson for sharing Rod's great collection with us!
This site was last updated 11/26/07