William Darrell Johnson
Sergeant First Class
Army of the United States
Rocky Mount, North Carolina
December 24, 1946 to February 20, 1979
(Incident Date January 19, 1968)
WILLIAM D JOHNSON is on the Wall at Panel 34E, Line 77

William D Johnson
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04 Feb 2002

Darrell Johnson lower left, from a team photo

Darrell was a tremendous football and baseball player for Rocky Mount Senior High School, Rocky Mount, NC, in the middle 60's. He played on two state championship football teams and one state championship baseball team. He also attended University of South Carolina to play football.

Darrell was a great athlete, but even more important, he was a fine person. Having served in the infantry in the exact same area of Vietnam as he did at that time, I can understand some of what he went through there. That is why Darrell is my hero and I will always remember him in a special way. If you are lucky you go there and you come home a year later. If you are unlucky, you do not return. It is as simple as that. What a price Darrell had to pay because he was at the wrong place at the wrong time. Vietnam was crawling with dangers that reach out and grab you and you have no control over your destiny. It seems very unfair that Darrell is not here with us today, but that is just the way it happens. It happened 58 thousand times and that is a lot of families ripped apart.

Darrell Johnson represented the very best that life can offer. He did his duty to his country and paid the ultimate price. I feel he deserves this memorial and we all should never forget him and what he gave for us all.

A memorial initiated by a friend and athletic teammate,
James R. Daniels, Jr.

15 Feb 2006

Many years have passed since Darrell was taken from us. Having known him in his youth and having been a teammate of his on the local high school baseball team, his death in Vietnam was a personal tragedy to me. I think of him often. We all who knew him must remember what he gave, and always keep his memory alive. In my life since Vietnam, I have had the opportunity to live my life experiencing many great and wondrous things. A wife, a family, a home, a profession - I have seen all the great things that life has to offer. Darrell did not have any of this. His memories ended in the jungle west of Kontum Province that day in January, 1968. A lifetime ago. He will be forever young in our eyes. What happened to Darrell that day was a terrible waste. I am sure he was capable of great things. We will never let your memory die. You are our hero, and all we can offer is our thanks for your gift to all Americans.

Days come and go swiftly by,
Your memory still brings a tear to our eyes,
Stuck in time, your memory will be,
Forever with us and we will always see,
Your great gift to our nation and above all,
A real fine young man, still standing tall.

From a friend,
Jim Daniels

15 Jun 2007

For the last 10 years or so, I have had the honor of wearing the POW/MIA bracelet for SFC William D. Johnson, USA 1-19-68 SVN. I normally wear it to Church every Sunday. His sacrifice to our nation must never be forgotten. I too served in Vietnam.

The Army is starting a museum. Part of it is a Registry for the American Soldier. Family and friends can enter their loved ones there. Visit the National Museum of the U.S. Army.

From MIA Bracelet,
MSG Jimmy D. Grant (Ret)


A Note from The Virtual Wall

On 19 January 1968 PFC Darrell Johnson's platoon was part of a company-size sweep in the tri-border area of Laos, Vietnam and Cambodia about 4 kilometers north-northeast of Ben Het in Kontum Province, South Vietnam. The company was ambushed by North Vietnamese regulars and nearly overrun. Johnson's platoon was assigned rear guard during the withdrawal.

While working their way back to their firebase, Johnson, as a pointman, went into a ravine to investigate an English-speaking voice and never returned. Five other members of his platoon also disappeared during the withdrawal. A subsequent search of the battle area turned up the bodies of five men, but no trace of Johnson was found.

Johnson was carried as Missing in Action, and was promoted while in that status, until 20 February 1979, when a Presumptive Finding of Death was approved by the Secretary of the Army. His remains have not been repatriated.

The other five men killed in the action were

  • SP4 Paul W. Robinson, Tupelo, MS
  • PFC William E. Brunn, Wilkes-Barre, PA
  • PFC Dennis E. Fuller, Santa Fe Springs, CA
  • PFC Johnny W. Lindsey, Fredonia, KY
  • PFC Franklin E. Sollars, Williamsport, OH

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