Spotlight Sailor – FORCM Richard P. Johnson
FORCM Richard P. Johnson
Navy Reserve Spotlight Sailor
Richard P. Johnson
First Force Master Chief of the Navy Reserve (FORCM1), Master Chief Aircraft Maintenanceman, TAR (now known as Full Time Support (FTS))
Oak Harbor, WA
Master Chief Johnson was the Navy Reserve’s first Force Master Chief. This position is responsible for advising the chief of Navy Reserve on matters affecting the morale, retention, Sailor development and general well-being of the Navy Reserve Force.
He has been an active volunteer for various organizations since 1975. One of his most recent volunteer efforts is the Island County Veterans Memorial which was conceived by a former WWII POW. Johnson was instrumental as a member of the memorial’s development committee and leading promotional brick sales to support it. He is also a Life Member of the local Chapter of the Disabled American Veterans (DAV) which concurrently maintains the memorial with Island County. In addition to his commitments with the memorial and DAV, he recently helped the local PBY Memorial Foundation move to its new off-base site.
How have you benefited from your service in the Navy Reserve?
Being under the “Rocks and Shoals” military justice system in 1950 and early 1951, I quickly learned to follow orders and perform at my best! I also was able to attend Aircraft Mechanic “A” School and be assigned to a Naval Reserve VR squadron and begin to fly as a Flight Crew Plane Captain (now called a Flight Engineer) on R4D-5, 6, and 8 aircraft. After requesting active duty in the TAR program (now FTS) as an AD-3 petty officer with 9 years, I began flying as a C-54 FCPC and continued into C-118’s until I was promoted to AFCM. My career has made me understand there is more to life than just living; that it is helping others and volunteering in the community, which I still do, and will never quit as long as I am capable!
Why did you choose to join the Navy Reserve?
I joined the Naval Reserve as a High School Senior in November 1950. At that time, the U.S. was still under the mandatory draft. Even though I was classified as a 1-A (which meant I was ripe for the Army), my brother and I chose the Navy on the recommendation of our dad. My father was an activated Wisconsin National Guardsman with the Signal Corp during WWI. He served throughout battlefields in Europe and thought we should “pursue” other services.
In my Navy…
so much has changed! If you compared my Navy (1950) with today’s Navy (2014), you wouldn’t recognize how much the Navy Reserve has come from structure, to integration, and value to the active forces. This process began with the formation of the Naval Air Reserve squadrons in 1970 along with various surface units, including Seabee Battalions (and I hope I am not letting other current units out that were formed at that time). The people are still the most motivated and valuable assets! That makes our Navy the best in the world!