ADAMS - World War II veteran Richard Johnson was surprised to see a photograph of himself in a book about, "The Greatest Generation," written by Tom Brokaw.

The photo was taken in 1945 while he, shipmates and personnel from other ships were on a few hours leave in Panama waiting their ship's turn to go through the locks. Someone outside one of the local bars was inviting servicemen to come inside to have their pictures taken in Panama, Johnson said.

He and several others posed together for pictures and waited for them to be developed and printed.

His wife, Ellyn, was skeptical when he announced that he was in the book about average Joes serving during the war, becoming heroes and returning to their former lives. To convince her, he showed her his photo album from the era with his own photo with a friend at the same location. She agreed that he was the same sailor in the published photo in Brokaw's book in a chapter about John Caulfield, who became a high school principal after his tour of duty. Now retired, Caulfield and life-long friends get together regularly as members of the ROMEO Club, or Retired Old Men Eating Out.

Johnson served in both the Navy and Army as an electrician repairing military radios. He began in the Navy aboard LST 1082 (Landing Ship Tank) at the Philippines, Guam, Saipan and the invasion at Okinawa. He served aboard three different LSTs before leaving the Navy.

Originally from Madison, Wis., he was aboard LST812 when it was decommissioned in Portland. Although anxious to go home, he said he was impressed by the beautiful Oregon landscapes and thought it would be wonderful to live here.

Because civilian jobs were scarce, after his Navy discharge at the Navy Training Center in Great Lakes, Ill., he re-enlisted in the Army and continued working as an electrician. After leaving the Army, he made his living in civilian life as an electrician and contractor.

He is a life member of the VFW, serves on the Adams City Council and Neighborhood Watch. He belongs to the American Legion, the Disabled American Veterans and the Pendleton Lions Club, which helped him receive a corneal transplant to restore sight in one eye that was lost during the war.

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