Robert Peter Johnson
West Point, 1955
Be Thou At Peace
Posted by Bill McWilliams on January 28, 2003:
To me, as apparently to everyone in '55 - and many graduates outside
the class - the abrupt loss of Bob Johnson came as a profound shock.
Having been in K-1, in retrospect a "world away" from A-1, I never
knew Bob as a cadet. And we went down separate roads on graduation,
Bob in the Army, and I into the Air Force. Not once in all the years
did our paths cross. What's more, even at reunions, we never became
acquainted, or said a single word to one another.
But I knew who he was when I saw him at the 45th reunion. Why? I
pulled out the '55 Howitzer to remind myself of how he looked as a
cadet, so I could recognize him at the reunion. Why? His strong voice
of principled, persistent, reasoned argument for what he believed the
Academy was - and ought to be - sounded through the '55 class nets,
the West Point Forum, in his West Point Society, and on, even more
strongly, into many other classes.
Just a few days ago I had the pleasure of one of several e-mail
exchanges we've had over the years since 1998, when intense debate
began over how the class should represent itself with its gifts to the Long Gray Line. I'll save that most recent file. His relentless
determination to, both in voice and action, "do the harder right" has
shown like a beacon, telling of a true soldier who knew so well the
institutions from whence he came, and which he so loyally served.
So "Here's a nickle on the grass" from a fighter pilot. Sleep well Bob Johnson. I never knew you, but you caused me to hear you loud and
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