Air Force Association presents former Vietnam POW Sam Johnson Lifetime Achievement Award

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Washington, September 19, 2013 | comments

WASHINGTON D.C. – The Air Force Association presented U.S. Congressman Sam Johnson (R-TX) with the prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award that recognizes not a single achievement but a lifetime of work in the advancement of aerospace.  Johnson received the award at the Air Force Anniversary Dinner highlighting the extraordinary achievements of the men and women throughout the United States Air Force.

“It is an honor to receive this award.  It is by the grace of God that I stand before you this evening and join you in celebrating the achievements of so many patriots.  As I receive this award, I’d like to share with you that this year is extra special to me as it marks my 40th year of freedom – from what can only be called Hell on Earth.  It’s been 40 years since Operation Homecoming - the release and return of the longest-held American POWs,” said Johnson. 

Johnson is a 29-year Air Force Veteran, former Thunderbird, former director of the Fighter Weapons School at Nellis, and former Prisoner of War for nearly 7 years – more than half of that time in solitary confinement.

“It was during my time in captivity in a dank, dark prison cell where I truly learned the meaning of freedom.  Our freedom is a gift that many so often take for granted – but those very rights, outlined in the Constitution were denied to us – including freedom of speech. We had no choice but to communicate by tapping on the walls in a language created out of necessity.  I can tell you when you don’t have freedom – you don’t have much.” 

For his service and bravery to this country, the military awarded Johnson two Silver Stars, two Legions of Merit, the Distinguished Flying Cross, one Bronze Star with Valor, two Purple Hearts, four Air Medals, and three Outstanding Unit Awards. 

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