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Kentucky National Guard Memorial

Honoring Their Sacrifice

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Johnson Jr., Jeff (P2, C3, L2)

Jeff Johnson Jr., 24 of London, Laurel County, Kentucky, died of wounds received in action while on federal active duty on 27 July 1944 serving with the 536th Anti-Aircraft Artillery (Automatic Weapons) Battalion.

Johnson enlisted in Troop E, 123rd Cavalry of the Kentucky National Guard in July 1940. By December 1941 he had risen to the rank of Corporal when his unit transitioned from Cavalry to Battery D of the 103rd Coast Artillery (AA).

He was inducted into federal active duty with his unit in February 1941. By November 1942 he was a Sergeant in Battery D. At some point during his active duty service he successfully completed an officer candidate course and was promoted to First Lieutenant and assigned to the 536th Anti-Aircraft Artillery (Automatic Weapons) Battalion.

He died of wounds on 27 July 1944 and is buried in the Florence American Cemetery in Florence Italy Plot C Row 10 Grave 31. His awards include the Silver Star and Purple Heart.

His documents show he had one year of college, more than likely Sue Bennett College in London. He listed his civilian occupation as mechanic.

Other casualties of the 103rd Antiaircraft Artillery Battalion  (Automatic Weapons) (Mobile) during World War II were: MAJ Mortimer M. Benton; CPL Opal E. Cornn; PVT Buster Criswell; 1LT Hal T. Hackney; 1LT Thomas L. Hehman; T/5 Richard A. Heidkamp;  PFC Kenneth Walsh and  T/5 Owen W. Whitaker.

The reorganization of the United States Army shortly before World War converted Kentucky's 123rd Cavalry on November 1, 1940, as the 103rd Coast Artillery (Antiaircraft) Separate Battalion and the 106th Coast Artillery (Antiaircraft) Separate Battalion.

The 103rd Coast Artillery (Antiaircraft) Separate Battalion the battalion began training at Fort Sheridan, Lake County, Illinois on March 4, 1942. On April 30, the 103rd left New York, arriving in Northern Ireland on May 15.  The unit was transferred to North Africa, arriving December 8.  On July 2, 1943, the 103rd left North Africa and went to Sicily.  The battalion participated in the Operation HUSKY, the Sicily Campaign from July 9 to August 17, 1943.  Departing Sicily on November 17, the 103rd arrived in Scotland on December 9 1943.  On September 29 1944, it was stationed at Belgium, remaining there until October 22.  From October 1944 to April 28, 1945, the 103rd was in Germany.  Between April 28 and May 6, the 103rd was in Czechoslovakia.  The 103rd arrived at New York November 30.  On December 1, 1945, the 103rd Antiaircraft Artillery Amphibious Automatic Weapons Battalion (Mobile) was inactivated at Camp Kilmer, New Jersey. Redesignated May 13, 1946 as the 441st Field Artillery Battalion, Kentucky National Guard with Headquarters at Lexington, Kentucky.  Currently the lineage and honors of the 103rd is carried by the 2nd Battalion, 138th Field Artillery , with Headquarters at Lexington.

 

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

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