Mission accomplished: Master Sgt. Verlon Johnson reclaims medals before being laid to rest

Purple Heart

Master Sgt. Verlon Johnson was awarded this purple heart for his service as a U.S. Special Forces Green Beret.

Molly Mosher | The Sun
Published: Saturday, November 10, 2012 at 02:56 PM.


America lost another decorated military veteran last month.

A trumpeter played “Taps” following a rifle salute at the funeral of Master Sgt. Verlon Johnson before he was interred in his final resting place at Barrancas National Cemetery in Pensacola Oct. 23.

“I thought it was very lovely,” said his wife, Maureen, a Santa Rosa Beach resident.

Johnson, 76, joined the U.S. Army at the age of 16 in 1952, and served his country in Vietnam and Korea before retiring in 1974. During his nearly 22-year career in the U.S. Special Forces as a Green Beret, he became a highly decorated combat parachutist, with two purple hearts, a bronze star, and eight other medals of valor in his career with the 101st Airborne.

When Ivan struck the Gulf Coast in 2004, the Johnsons’ Santa Rosa Beach home, which sits a block up from the Bay, was totally flooded.

In the deluge, Johnson lost all of his medals, all of his military service pictures, and two books in which he was remembered as a war hero.

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