George Alvin Johnson
Colonel, United States Air Force
George Alvin Johnson, 83, a retired Air Force colonel and Federal Aviation Administration aerospace engineer, died of a heart ailment January 20, 2004, at Inova Fairfax Hospital, Virginia. He was a Springfield, Virginia, resident.
Colonel Johnson was born in Neptune, New Jersey., and as a youth built his own hang glider and flew with barnstormers.
He served in the Army Air Forces as a pilot in Europe during World War II and participated in the Normandy invasion.
He was shot down July 25, 1944, over France and was sent to a prison camp there. His family said he escaped within a few weeks through help from the French underground.
He joined the Air Force after it became a separate military branch in 1947 and served in Korea during the war there.
Later, he oversaw wind-tunnel operations at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Ohio, which helped study theories necessary for manned space vehicles. One of his major projects included solving cone angle problems for the Mercury space capsule.
During his military career, he received a bachelor's degree from the Air Force Institute of Technology in Ohio and a master's degree in aero-astronautics from Ohio State University.
He settled in the Washington area in 1961. His final active-duty assignment, in 1968, was at Bolling Air Force Base as chief of the aeromechanics division and director of laboratories for Systems Command.
His decorations included the Legion of Merit, the Bronze Star and the Purple Heart.
He worked for the FAA from 1968 to 1977 and oversaw flight standards for such supersonic transport aircraft as the Concorde.
He was a member of St. Christopher's Episcopal Church in Springfield and served on its memorial committee. He was a charter member of the National World War II Memorial and a founder of the American Air Museum in England.
His wife of 55 years, Marion Somerville Johnson, died in 1997.
Survivors include two daughters, Ellen Jones
of Clifton and Katherine Johnson of Pasadena; and four grandchildren.
On January 20, 2004. He is survived by two daughters, Katherine Johnson and Ellen Jones and her husband Tom; and four grandchildren, Jake, Molly, Matthew and Ashleigh. He will also be missed by his beloved dog, Otto.
Services will be held on February 23, 1 p.m.
at the Fort Myer Old Post Chapel. Interment Arlington National Cemetery.
JOHNSON, MARION E