DENNING C JOHNSON
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HONORED ON PANEL 1W, LINE 121 OF THE WALL

DENNING CICERO JOHNSON

WALL NAME

DENNING C JOHNSON

PANEL / LINE

1W/121

DATE OF BIRTH

08/01/1938

CASUALTY PROVINCE

BIEN HOA

DATE OF CASUALTY

04/04/1975

HOME OF RECORD

DUNN

COUNTY OF RECORD

Harnett County

STATE

NC

BRANCH OF SERVICE

AIR FORCE

RANK

MSGT

REMEMBRANCES

LEFT FOR DENNING CICERO JOHNSON
POSTED ON 3.12.2016

Final Mission of MSGT Denning C. Johnson

At 4:03 PM on April 3, 1975, a U.S. Air Force C-5A Galaxy military transport aircraft, serial number 68-218, of the 60th Military Airlift Wing lifted off the runway at Tan Son Nhut Air Base near Saigon, bound for Clark Air Base in the Philippines. As the initial mission in "Operation Babylift", the C-5 carried Vietnamese orphans enroute the United States. The aircraft commander was CAPT Dennis Traynor, the co-pilot CAPT Tilford Harp, and there was a crew of 15 others, including a 10-person medical team. The C-5's troop compartment contained 145 orphans and seven attendants, most of them civilian volunteers being evacuated from Vietnam. The cargo compartment held 102 orphans and 47 others. Twelve minutes after takeoff, while the aircraft was passing through 23,000 feet, the rear loading ramp's locks failed, leading to explosive decompression and massive structural damage to the aircraft as the pressure door, most of the rear loading ramp, and the center cargo door departed the airframe. Control cables to the rudder and elevators were severed, leaving only one aileron and wing spoilers operating, and two of the four hydraulic systems were out. Using engine power changes, the functional aileron, and the wing spoilers, Traynor and Harp managed to regain marginal control of the aircraft and turned back toward Tan Son Nhut. The aircraft had to be maintained between 250 and 260 knots, with a considerable lag between power adjustments and aircraft response. Traynor anticipated that the minimum landing speed would be somewhere in the range of 250 knots. As the C-5 passed through 4,000 feet while turning to the final approach heading, it became apparent that they could not make the runway. Traynor applied full power to hold the nose up while Harp attempted to maintain a wings-level attitude. Just off the ground, Traynor reduced power to idle and the C-5 touched down in a rice paddy, skidded about 1,000 feet before becoming airborne again, hit a dike, and broke into four parts. The cargo compartment was completely destroyed, killing 141 of the 149 orphans and attendants. Only three of 152 in the troop compartment perished. Five of the flight crew, three of the medical team, and three other servicemen lost their lives, but 175 of the 328 aboard survived. The eleven military personnel who died in or of injuries received in the crash were LTC William S. Willis, CAPT Mary T. Klinker, CAPT Edgar R. Melton, MSGT Joe Castro, MSGT Denning C. Johnson, MSGT Wendle L. Payne, TSGT Felizardo C. Aguillon, TSGT William M. Parker, SSGT Donald T. Dionne, SSGT Kenneth E. Nance, and SSGT Michael G Paget. [Taken from togetherweserved.com]
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POSTED ON 4.4.2015
POSTED BY: Linda Seale

Remembering you on the 40th Anniversary of the Operation Babylift C-5A crash

I did not know you even though you were from a town not too far from my hometown. Thank you for your sacrifice in the C-5A Galaxy that was bringing those babies and young children to America and Freedom all those long years ago on 4 April 1975. Thanks to the pilot Bud Traynor & his crew, over half of those on the plane survived.

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POSTED ON 7.18.2011
POSTED BY: Jim Reece

Photo

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POSTED ON 7.9.2010
POSTED BY: Robert Sage

We Remember

Denning is buried at Greenwood Cemetery in Dunn, NC.
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POSTED ON 4.4.2010
POSTED BY: Curt Carter

Thank God for American Heroes

Dear MSGT Denning Cicero Johnson, Sir





As a fellow North Carolinian, I would like to thank you for your service and for your sacrifice made on behalf of our wonderful country. The youth of today could gain much by learning of heroes such as yourself, men and women whose courage and heart can never be questioned.



May God allow you to read this, and may He allow me to someday shake your hand when I get to Heaven to personally thank you. I pray that God will have you return, and that your family and friends will have that peace in knowing.



With respect, and the best salute a civilian can muster for you, Sir



Curt Carter (son of Sgt. Ardon William Carter, 101st Airborne, died February 4, 1966, South Vietnam)
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