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Honoring Their Sacrifice

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Johnson, Alexander Edward, Jr. (P2, C2, L38)

johnson alex e jr article pix 2Second Lieutenant Alexander Edward Johnson Jr. of Louisville, Jefferson County, was killed in combat on December 23, 1943 while leading his infantry platoon in battle near Medjez el Bab, Tunisia.

Johnson joined Headquarters Company of the 149th Infantry of the Kentucky National Guard in St. Matthews, on 13 September 1939. Johnson promoted to on 18 December 1940 and moved to the Antitank Company of the 149th Infantry on 19 December 1940. He was inducted into federal active duty with his unit on 16 January 1941.

While on federal active duty, Johnson was promoted to Sergeant in April 1941. Johnson was accepted for Officer Candidate School in March 1942. He was commissioned a second lieutenant at Fort Benning on June 27, 1942 following graduation from the officers’ candidate school. He was assigned to duty in England presumably with the 18th Infantry Regiment.
On 18 January 1943, the War Department notified Johnson's parents that he was “killed in action in Africa on December 23.”  On 13 February 1943, the War Department notified Johnson's parents that he had been posthumously awarded the Order of Purple Heart. On 3 April 1943, the War Department notified Johnson's parents by telegram to “disregard previous information” concerning his son. Newspaper accounts say it lead the father to believe that he was now listed as missing in action instead of killed. On 21 January 1944, the War Department notified Johnson's parents that their son, 2nd Lt. Alex E. Johnson, Jr., officially is reported killed in action.

According to newspaper accounts, Lieutenant Johnson, served with the infantry which spearheaded the invasion of North Africa and on December 23, 1942, he was leading his platoon in action with the enemy near Medjez el Bab, Tunisia (Some 30 miles south west of Tunis) when he was killed. At the time of his death, he was serving with serving with the 18th Infantry Regiment, 1st Infantry Division.

Johnson graduated from Louisville's Male High School in 1938. Johnson was employed for a short time by the Brown-Williamson Tobacco Company as a clerk and at the time of his entry onto active duty he was an insurance agent with the Union Central Life Insurance Company.

Johnson is buried Plot B Row 7 Grave 10 of the North Africa American Cemetery at Tunis, Tunisia. Johnson also has a cenotaph (similar to an "In Memory" marker) located in Cave Hill Cemetery in Louisville. According to the American Battle Monuments Commission, his awards and decorations include the Bronze Star with Oak Leaf Cluster and the Purple Heart.

    SEE
    Hattiesburg American, Hattiesburg, MS 15 Apr 1941, Page 10
    The Courier-Journal, Louisville 15 Mar 1942, Page 8
    The Courier-Journal, Louisville 3 Jul 1942,  Page 4
    The Courier-Journal, Louisville 18 Jan 1943, Page 2
    The Courier-Journal, Louisville 13 Feb 1943, Page 8
    The Courier-Journal, Louisville 3 Apr 1943, Page 4
    The Courier-Journal, Louisville 22 Jan 1944, Page 10

    15 Apr 1941 Hattiesburg American, Hattiesburg, MS, Page 10
    Colonel Roy W. Easley, commanding officer of the 149th infantry of Kentucky, announced the following promotions among non-commissioned officers as a result of the regiment's increase to wartime strength: … To be sergeant … Corporal Alexander E. Johnson, Jr., of Louisville….

    15 Mar 1942 The Courier-Journal, Louisville Page 8

    Meanwhile, four enlisted men of the 149th Infantry received notice that their applications for officer training had been approved. They are … Sergt. Alex E. Johnson, Jr., 2309 Cross Hill Road, Louisville, Anti-Tank Company; ….

    Lieut. A. E. Johnson, Jr. Commissioned at Fort Benning
    3 Jul 1942 The Courier-Journal, Louisville Page 4
    Alex E. Johnson, Jr., 22, son of Mr. and Mrs. Alex E. Johnson, 2309 Cross Hill Road, Louisville, was commissioned a second lieutenant at Fort Benning June 27 following graduation from the officers candidate school there. A graduate of Male High School, former employee of the Brown and Williamson Tobacco Company and Union Central Life Insurance Company, he went to Camp Shelby, Mississippi, as a private in the 149th Infantry. He was promoted to supply sergeant before his appointment to officers school in April.

    Louisville Lieutenant Killed in African War
    A. E. Johnson Died Dec. 23
    18 Jan 1943 The Courier-Journal, Louisville Page 2
    Word that Second Lieut. Alex E. Johnson, Jr., was “killed in action in Africa on December 23.” Was received yesterday from the War Department by his parents, Mr. and Mrs. Alex E. Johnson, Sr.
    Graduated from Louisville Male High School in 1938, Lieutenant Johnson was employed for a short time by the Brown-Williamson Tobacco Company. Later he was a salesman for the Union Central Life Insurance Company. He was a member of the 149th Infantry National Guard at St. Matthews and took his basic Army training at Camp Shelby, Miss.
    He was commissioned a second lieutenant at Fort Benning, Georgia, June 27, 1942, and later was assigned to duty in England.

    13 Feb 1943 The Courier-Journal, Louisville, Page 8
    The War Department yesterday notified Mr. and Mrs. Alexander E. Johnson, 2309 Cross Hill Road, that the Order of Purple Heart had been awarded posthumously to their son, Lieut. Alexander E. Johnson, Jr., who was killed in action in North Africa December 23. The youth’s parents were notified January 17 of his death.

    Message on Death of Officer Canceled
    3 Apr 1943 The Courier-Journal, Louisville Page 4
    A War Department telegram telling Alex E. Johnson, Sr., 2309 Cross Hill Road, to “disregard previous information” concerning his son, Lieut. Alex E. Johnson, Jr., lead the father to believe that the officer is no is listed as missing in action instead of killed, as previously reported.
    Lieutenant Johnson, Male High 1938 graduate and later a tobacco firm employee and insurance salesman, had been reported killed last, December 23. He had been awarded a Purple Heart Medal for bravery.

    Lieutenant Johnson Killed.
    22 Jan 1944 - The Courier-Journal, Louisville, Page 10
    Alex E. Johnson, Sr,. 2309 Cross Hill Road, was informed yesterday by the War Department that his son, 2s Lt. Alex E. Johnson, Jr., officially is reported killed in action.
    Lieutenant Johnson, with the infantry which spearheaded the invasion of North Africa, has been missing in action since December 23, 1942, when he led his platoon in action with the enemy near Medjez el Bab, Tunisia (Some 30 miles south west of Tunis).
    A graduate of Louisville Male High School and a salesman for the Union Central Life Insurance Company, Johnson was called into service with the Kentucky National Guard three years ago.
     

The Kentucky National Guard Memorial Fund, Inc., is a recognized 501(c)(3). EIN 26-3705273
 

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