Bob Johnson was born on February 21, 1920, in Lawton, Oklahoma. He enlisted in the U.S. Army Air Forces in November 1941, and entered the Aviation Cadet Program in December 1941, earning his commission as a 2d Lt and pilot wings on July 3, 1942. After completing P-47 Thunderbolt training, Lt Johnson was assigned to the 61st Fighter Squadron of the 56th Fighter Group in November 1942 and went with the group to England in January 1943. He was credited with destroying 27 aircraft in aerial combat plus 3 damaged before returning to the U.S. in June 1944. Maj Johnson served the rest of the war as an instructor pilot, and he left active duty on December 28, 1945. After the war, Johnson remained in the Air Force Reserve and became chief test pilot for Republic Aviation. He was activated for a short time during the Korean War, and visited bases in South Korea in December 1951. Bob Johnson died on December 27, 1998, and was buried at the River Hills Community Church Cemetery in Lake Wylie, South Carolina. He was National President of the Air Force Association from 1949 to 1951.
His Distinguished Service Cross Citation reads:
The President of the United States takes pleasure in presenting the Distinguished Service Cross to Robert S. Johnson, Captain (Air Corps), U.S. Army Air Forces, for extraordinary heroism in connection with military operations against an armed enemy while serving as Pilot of a P-47 Fighter Airplane in the 61st Fighter Squadron, 56th Fighter Group, EIGHTH Air Force, in aerial combat against enemy forces on 15 March 1944, in the European Theater of Operations. On this date Captain Johnson shot down three enemy aircraft in a single engagement. Captain Johnson's unquestionable valor in aerial combat is in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service and reflects great credit upon himself, the 8th Air Force, and the United States Army Air Forces.