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Sgt. Ted Johnson honored as Veteran of the Month

CAMP RIPLEY - The Minnesota Military Museum is honoring Sgt. Harold (Ted) Johnson of St. Paul as the featured Veteran of the Month Exhibit for August.

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CAMP RIPLEY - The Minnesota Military Museum is honoring Sgt. Harold (Ted) Johnson of St. Paul as the featured Veteran of the Month Exhibit for August.

In 1941, 19-year-old Ted Johnson was working as a farm laborer near Northfield. Europe had been at war since September 1939, and as part of the British Empire, Canada was also at war. The United States was still at peace but the National Guard had been mobilized and the nation was preparing for what seemed to be America's eventual entry into the war.

On June 20, 1941, Johnson traveled to Victoria, British Columbia, where he enlisted in the Canadian Army. His service records indicate that as an American entering the Canadian Army he was not required to take the standard Canadian citizen's oath of allegiance to "His Britannic Majesty," the king of England.

On Aug. 2, 1942, he was accepted into the 2nd Canadian Parachute Battalion and completed his parachute training on Sept. 9, 1942, thus qualifying him for $.75 per day in extra pay. Sometime during 1942 he transferred to the 1st Special Service Force, an elite joint American/Canadian unit specially trained in Airborne, Amphibious, Mountain, and Winter Commando Operations. The 1st Special Service Force is the parent unit of todays' Special Forces.

He participated in all the major operations of the 1st Special Service Force. In August 1943 he participated in amphibious landings in the Aleutian, Islands. Returning to the United States, Johnson and the Force were sent to Italy via North Africa, arriving in November 1943. Soon in combat, the Force captured Mt. Difensa in a daring surprise assault in which Johnson was wounded on Dec. 5. Rejoining the unit, Johnson participated in unit operations in Anzio, the liberation of Rome, and the fighting advance to northern Italy. On Aug. 14, 1944, Johnson participated in the small boat commando assault on Iles d' Hyeres, as part of the invasion of southern France. The unit remained in Southern France and on the Franco-Italian Border until the end of November 1944.

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