Johnson, Haywood, Jr., SSG

 Photo In Uniform   Service Details
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Last Rank
Staff Sergeant
Last Service Branch
Last Primary MOS
11E10-Armor Crewman
Last MOS Group
Armor (Enlisted)
Primary Unit
1968-1968, 11E10, HHT, 1st Squadron, 4th Cavalry
Service Years
1951 - 1968
Official/Unofficial US Army Certificates
Cold War Certificate

Staff Sergeant

Five Service Stripes

Three Overseas Service Bars

 Last Photo   Personal Details 

Home State
North Carolina
North Carolina
Year of Birth
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Casualty Info
Home Town
Last Address

Casualty Date
May 06, 1968
Hostile, Died
Gun, Small Arms Fire
Binh Duong (Vietnam)
Vietnam War
Location of Interment
York Memorial Park - Charlotte, North Carolina
Wall/Plot Coordinates
56E 009

 Official Badges 

 Unofficial Badges 

 Military Association Memberships
The National Purple Heart Hall of HonorVietnam Veterans Memorial
  1968, The National Purple Heart Hall of Honor [Verified]
  1982, Vietnam Veterans Memorial [Verified] - Assoc. Page

 Photo Album   (More...

 Ribbon Bar

Combat Infantryman 2nd Award
Senior Parachutist

 Unit Assignments/ Advancement Schools
1st Infantry Division1st Squadron, 4th Cavalry
  1968-1968, 11E10, 1st Infantry Division
  1968-1968, 11E10, HHT, 1st Squadron, 4th Cavalry
 Combat and Non-Combat Operations
  1968-1968 Vietnam War/Tet Counteroffensive Campaign (1968)
  1968-1968 Vietnam War/Counteroffensive Phase IV Campaign (1968)
 Additional Information
Last Known Activity

SSG Haywood Johnson, Jr. was a Korean War Veteran and a Vietnam Veteran from Monroe, North Carolina who died while serving during the Vietnam War. 

Service Number:

SSG Johnson was buried at York Memorial Park in Charlotte, North Carolina.  Find A Grave Memorial:


From the Indian Trail Newspaper by Victoria Mackey

Staff Sergeant Haywood Johnson, Jr.

Virginia Massey Johnson knew that her husband was not coming back from Vietnam and she knew that he knew this too, because she heard him tell her mother "if anything happens to me over there, help Virginia raise the boys for me." He told her mother this during the Christmas of 1967, when he brought the family home to Waxhaw for Christmas. Of course, her mother agreed and did in fact have to live up to her promise, because he never returned from Vietnam alive.

Staff Sergeant Haywood Johnson Jr was born on July 25, 1933 in Monroe, North Carolina to Haywood and Francis Johnson. He graduated from Winchester Avenue High School and was a member of Friendship Baptist Church in Monroe, North Carolina.

As soon as he graduated from high school, he joined the Army because he wanted to make it his career. He went to basic training at Ft Jackson, South Carolina, airborne training at Ft Bragg, North Carolina, and then he was ordered to Korea during the Korean Conflict in 1952.  Of the eighteen soldiers killed in Vietnam, Staff Sergeant Johnson was the only soldier who participated in two wars, the Korean War and the Vietnam War.

Virginia Massey of Waxhaw married Haywood Johnson Jr in 1958 and they became a military family moving from post to post around the world. Johnson was first assigned to Fort Campbell after he returned from Korea. The family moved next to Fort Hood, Texas and lived there for several years. They were then posted to Nuremburg, Germany for a few years.

Staff Sergeant Johnson was a tank commander in Vietnam and the Army told Virginia in a letter that his tank was a part of an armored cavalry troop that was conducting a sweeping operation along the dense terrain near the village of Xom Qui. "In the afternoon hours, the friendly force suddenly made heavy contact with a large, well-entrenched Viet Cong force that utilized rocket propelled grenades, automatic weapons, and small arms. Staff Sergeant Johnson's tank, located at the right flank, received a hail of small arms fire from its front and right side.

Staff Sergeant Johnson quickly assessed the situation and then turned his tank's main gun to the right and began to place a devastating amount of firepower into the dense jungle as he simultaneously fired his heavy machine gun, running its fire up and down the wood line to his immediate front and right side. As a result of his devastating fire, he was able to silence several Viet Cong gun positions and give the remainder of his platoon time to react to the initial contact. He continued his deadly and accurate fire until he was hit and mortally wounded by the enemy's small arms fire." Staff Sergeant Johnson died on May 6, 1968.

The Army's letter ended with the description of a Hero. "The dauntless courage and bold initiative exhibited by Staff Sergeant Johnson under heavy hostile fire undoubtedly prevented heavy friendly causalities and contributed significantly to the ultimate defeat of a large insurgent force. His outstanding display of aggressiveness, devotion to duty, and personal bravery is in keeping with the finest traditions of the military service and reflects great credit upon himself, the 1st Infantry Division, and the United States Army."

Virginia said that her husband was "wrapped up in being a tank commander" and he really loved the job. They had two sons, Michael Johnson and Howard Keith Johnson, who were six and four respectively when their father was killed in Vietnam. Both sons live in Charlotte with their families.

Staff Sergeant Johnson had a brother, Robert Johnson who lives in Washington, D.C. and a sister, Annie Cunningham of Charlotte. He is buried at York Memorial Cemetery in Charlotte. Virginia has lived in Waxhaw since her husband went to Vietnam and she continues to live there today. She was a high school English teacher at Sun Valley High School for several years and she held the position of librarian at Wesley Chapel Elementary School when she retired.

He served with Alpha Troop, 1st Squadron, 4th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Infantry Division, "The Big Red One", USARV.

He was awarded the following Medals and Decorations: Bronze Star Medal with First Oak Leaf Cluster for heroism, the Purple Heart, a Good Conduct Medal with Bronze loops, the National Defense Service Medal, The Combat Infantryman's Badge(CIB), The Korean Service Medal, The Vietnam Service Medal, The United Nations Service Medal, The Vietnam Campaign Ribbon, The Parachute Badge and a Marksman Badge with .45 Pistol Bar. Staff Sergeant Johnson had been in the Army for seventeen years when he was killed in Vietnam.



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