"Doc Johnson"

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Lieutenant George M. Johnson served as the ship's doctor from date of commissioning until her loss April 6, 1945. He was a valued and admired shipmate by both officers and crew. He is pictured here in his quarters during 1944. When his medical duties did not require immediate attention, Lt. Johnson was busy becoming the ship's official photographer, taking both still and motion pictures. Many of the photos within this website are the result of Lt. Johnson's own initiative. In January, 1945 he began publishing a twice-monthly newsletter titled "Pills & Shots". Lt. George Johnson, Medical Officer

Lt. Johnson and his medical staff's careful preparation and training just prior to commissioning, and during the shakedown cruise, really paid off as the war progressed.

Lt. Johnson received a commendation for his combat photography work December 27, 1944 to December 30, 1944. The commendation read in part, "Carrying on this hazardous duty courageously during the heavy attack from Japanese forces in the Mindinao Sea, you succeeded in obtaining exceptionally dramatic pictures of action taking place during this period. Your excellent photographs obtained under perilous combat conditions have been of great value in the war effort from an intelligence standpoint and also provide a splendid and permanent historical record worth in keeping the American people visually abreast of the gallant service rendered by the Navy to the Nation."

Less than four months later, Lt. Johnson would earn a Bronze Star for "heroic achievement as Medical Officer" on April 6, 1945 as the BUSH was lost to enemy suicide planes near Okinawa. The citation noted, "Johnson took charge of the main battle dressing station in the wardroom and cared for the wounded. When the order was given to abandon ship, he was one of the last to leave the vessel, making sure that the wounded were placed on rafts and issuing instructions for their care."

Perhaps Commander R. E. Westholm's cover memo, which accompanied Lt. Johnson's report on the BUSH sinking, summed it up best, "On this and previous occassions, the medical department has demonstrated its readiness to meet emergencies with competent and well trained personnel. The fact that so many officers and men were able to render first aid in such emergencies speaks well for the training given to the ship's company by the Medical Officer. The work of Lieutenant George M. Johnson, MC, US Naval Reserve, the Medical Officer, has at all times been highly commendable."

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