SSgt Chester Arthur Johnson, Jr
Tokyo Military Prison Fire
9 August 2020




SSgt Chester Arthur Johnson, Jr
27 November 1924 - 26 May 1945
source: Reagan High School
Houston Texas
1942 Yearbook

source: American Battle Monuments Commission

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Honor States

Case History 111

Tokyo Military Prison Fire Victims Virtual Cemetery

499th Bomb Group Virtual Cemetery

SSgt Chester Arthur Johnson, Jr, is one of 37 victims of the
Tokyo Military Prison Fire who remain Unknowns.

His official status is MIA, but my preference is
KIA - RNR [ Killed in Action - Remains Not Recoverable ].

Tributes to SSgt Chester Arthur Johnson, Jr, can be found at the Virtual Cemeteries created by Scott Muselin and at Honor States.
His name appears within the Courts of the Missing at the
National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific, Honolulu.

Many more details concerning the Tokyo Military Prison fire can be found within Case History 111.

SSgt Chester Arthur Johnson, Jr. graduated from John H Reagan High School, Houston Texas, in 1942. Seven months later in February 1943 he enlisted in the US Army
and began basic training at St Petersburg, Florida.

His first stations were for radio school followed by transfer to Clovis AAF.

The 499th Bomb Group had to wait at Clovis AAF
for the 468th Bomb Group, 58th Bomb Wing,
to depart Kansas for India and China.

Scott Field : 6 April through 23 November 1943
Truax Field : 24 November through 31 December 1943
Clovis AAF : 13 through 28 January 1944
Smoky Hill AAF : 29 January through 13 October 1944
Herington AAF :13 October through 3 November 1944

His Aircraft Commander was Capt Will F Latimer, Jr,
and the crew flew 16 missions prior to their loss on 14 April 1945.
SSgt Johnson was one of six men who survived the crash
and were captured as POWs.

One man survived the war, one man died of injuries or disease,
and four were in the Tokyo Military Prison
at the time of the fire 25-26 May 1945.

Mrs Ollie Johnson, mother of SSgt Johnson, wrote two letters to General MacArthur
asking where her son's remains were located.
These letters and replies from the US Army are in the Correspondence section.

The section titled 73rd Bomb Wing Mission 42 has a short tutorial
followed by three pages of Mission Reports
from the 73rd Bomb Wing and 499th Bomb Group.

While SSgt Johnson was known to be at the Tokyo Military Prison
on 25-26 May 1945, only his dog tags were found.

A question arises as to how remains of 25 men who died in the fire
were identified while the other 37 were not.
Some of the documents in his IDPF that concern his remains
being declared Non-Recoverable are in that section.

Below is his Enlistment Record from the National Archives
and two pages ( True Copy ) of the Missing Air Crew Report from his IDPF.

My Thanks To:

Jim Bowman
Scott Muselin
Roy Wall
Al Schutte


American Battle Monuments Commission
POW Research Network Japan