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Carl Spencer Johnson was a U.S. Navy serviceman who was killed when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. His remains were identified on August 7, 2019. He was identified alongside Billy Maxwell, who was killed during the Battle of Chosin Reservoir during the Korean War on November 30, 1950.

Early Life

Carl Johnson was born in Columbus, New Mexico on May 17, 1923 to Zeno and Margaret Johnson. The youngest of five children, Johnson joined the U.S. Navy when he was in Arizona as a Seaman, First Class.

Pearl Harbor Attack

At about 7:48 AM on December 7, 1941, the Imperial Japanese Navy Air Service conducted a surprise military strike against the United States at the naval base in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. Johnson was stationed on the USS West Virginia when the attack occured. The ship was hit with torpedoes, but thanks to the crew taking counter-flooding measures, the USS West Virginia came to a final rest on the shallow harbor floor and did not capsize. Johnson was killed in the process, though his exact circumstances are not known. His remains were located between 1941-1944, but not identified. As a result, he was considered Missing in Action while his remains were buried in the Punchbowl at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific in Honolulu, Hawaii.

Overall, 2,335 Americans were killed in the attack, 106, including Johnson, were on the USS West Virginia. The surprise attack led to US President Franklin Delano Roosevelt to declare December 7, 1941, "a date which will live in infamy". The following day, the US Congress declared war on Japan which led to the United States' formal entry into World War II.

Johnson's name is stated in the Courts of the Missing at the Honolulu Memorial in Honolulu, Hawaii.

Identification

In 2017, the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency began to exhume unknown soldiers killed on the USS West Virginia who were buried in the Punchbowl. Through modern forensic techniques, Carl Johnson's remains were identified on August 7, 2019.

Sources

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