Richard L. (Dick) Johnson was born in Cooperstown, ND on September, 21 1917. On March 1, 1947, Dick married Alvina Marie "Binkey" Conway Huester in Washington, DC.
Before entering the Army in 1942, Dick was noted for being an outstanding baseball pitcher and for flying his Pietenpol Skyscout around the Cooperstown, ND area. Dick had fallen in love with flying. That love lasted for the rest of his life.
When Dick first entered the service, he was in the Army. He applied several times for flight training but was denied each time because of a minor physical issue which made him ineligible.
Never one to give up easily, Dick decided to make an in-person request for a waiver to a General. Marlene Dietrich, who was present at a party at the General's house that day, talked the General into granting Dick's request. Had Ms. Dietrich not been there, it is likely that Dick's audacious behavior would have prompted the General to put Dick on a latrine digging detail for the balance of the war. The rest is history.
Dick went on to become a decorated WW II P-47 pilot, and, after the war, a highly successful and awarded test pilot.
Binkey's contribution to Dick's success was not a small one. The constant stress and uncertainty of being a test pilotís wife did nothing to diminish her devotion and support.
Dick and Binkey had three children:
Binkey died on December 28, 1998. Dick died on November 9, 2002.
Read a Statement of Outstanding Contribution to Aviation. This statement was part of a nomination process for enshrinement in North Dakota's Aviation Hall of Fame.
Read Dick's obituary from the Griggs County Sentinel Courier.
Read Honors For Dick Johnson at Arlington National Cemetery by John Njaa
Read Dick's citation for Lancaster, California's Aerospace Walk of Honor.