From a contemporary press report:
Henry Randolph “Hank” Johnston, 88, a retired Air Force Colonel who flew 90 missions in the Berlin Airlift, died of congestive heart failure January 24. 2004, at Virginia Hospital Center-Arlington. Colonel Johnston was born in Clarendon, Texas, and graduated from the University of New Mexico. He earned a master's degree in international relations at the Georgetown University School of Foreign Service.
He graduated from Army Air Corps training in 1942 and was assigned to deliver military aircraft around the world. He flew more than 40 types of aircraft, and left active duty in the China-Burma-India theater as deputy base commander in Dacca, India (now Bangladesh).
After World War II, he went to China as an instructor and captain with the China National Aviation Corp., jointly owned by Pan American Airways and the Chinese National government.
Colonel Johnston returned to the United States in 1947 and was dispatched to a Massachusetts-based air transport squadron that airlifted 400 tons of supplies from Resolute Bay in the Canadian Northwest Territories to areas of strategic importance above the Arctic Circle.
When the Communists took over the Chinese government, Colonel Johnston was ecalled to active duty and assigned to the air transport command in Nanking, China.
He spent the next 30 years in command and staff positions and as a politico-military officer. Colonel Johnston flew more than 90 missions during the Berlin Airlift. He was later appointed as the Air Force representative to the ambassador to NATO in Paris, where he was stationed for three years. He retired in 1967 as deputy to the assistant chief of staff for operations at Air Force headquarters in Washington.
Among his decorations were the Air Medal, the Joint Services Commendation Medal and the USAF Commendation Medal.
He lived in Arlington and traveled and wrote extensively in retirement. He organized the Wilmington Warrior Society and was a member of the Hump Pilots Association, the CNAC Association and Army-Navy Country Club.
Survivors include his wife of 58 years, Alaire Geraldine Johnston of Arlington; and a sister, Lucile Foster, and brother, William H. Johnston, both of Dallas.
- JOHNSTON, HENRY R
- COL US AIR FORCE
- VETERAN SERVICE DATES: 09/08/1947 – 12/31/1966
- DATE OF BIRTH: 04/21/1915
- DATE OF DEATH: 01/24/2004
- DATE OF INTERMENT: 02/27/2004
- BURIED AT: SECTION 66 SITE 1536
Reviewed by: Michael Howard