Private Rosamond Johnson, Jr.
RA 14 289 828, Infantry
Who died in the service of his country in the military operations in Korea
on July 26, 1950
He stands in the unspoken line of patriots who have dared to die that
freedom might live, and grow, and increase its blessings.
Freedom lives, and through it, he lives - in a way that humbles the
undertakings of most men.
He crossed the 38th parallel three times. The first two times, he carried
back wounded. The third time, he got killed before he could make it back.
May 18, 1933 - July 26, 1950
permanent monument at Johnson Beach
History of Rosamond Johnson
now part of Gulf Islands National Seashore . . .
Army Private Rosamond Johnson, Jr. was the first Escambia County resident
to die in the Korean War on July 26, 1950. He had successfully carried two
wounded soldiers to safety and was returning with a third when he was
fatally wounded. He had joined the military at age 15 and died at 17. He
posthumously received the Purple Heart August 21, 1950 and several veteran
groups are still working to see if Johnson deserved additional military
honors. During the early days of an integrated military it was not
uncommon for recognition to be overlooked for black troops.
Pensacola beaches were racially segregated at the time of Johnson's death;
the Gulf beach area was a popular area for blacks. After the Korean
Conflict the county-owned recreational area was renamed to honor its
fallen hero at the suggestion of the Sunset Riding Club, Inc. The club
leased the land in 1950 from the county for the sole use of bathing, beach
and recreational facilities for "colored citizens." Although the lease was
canceled in 1956 the name Rosamond Johnson Beach remained. The area became
part of Gulf Islands National Seashore May 8, 1973.
A permanent monument in Johnson's honor was erected at Johnson Beach on
June 10, 1996. Guest speaker, retired Army Maj. Gen. Mike Ferguson of
Pensacola and the Veterans of Under aged Military Service, said the real
heroes of the war - those who make the ultimate sacrifice - can never
receive enough recognition. "There is no medal that signifies hero. You
couldn't invent a medal to signify hero."
Gulf Islands National
History of Johnson Beach