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Former Texas Congressman Sam Johnson Dies at 89 – Glimpse into His Life and Career

Olowokandi Fiyin
May 29, 2020
06:24 A.M.
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Sam Johnson, a former Texas congressman and war hero, has passed away at the age of 89 after an impactful life. Let’s take a look at his fulfilling life and career.

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After more than two decades of serving as a congressman, the world said goodbye to Sam Johnson at the ripe age of 89.

Sam Johnson  at a forum held by the Center for Christian Statesmanship. | Photo: Getty Images

Sam Johnson at a forum held by the Center for Christian Statesmanship. | Photo: Getty Images

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The sad news was revealed by Congressman Johnson’s former spokesman, Ray Sullivan, who disclosed to The Washington Post that the late politician passed away in a hospital in Plato, Texas.

Johnson was a recipient of many accolades during his lifetime including two Silver Stars, one Bronze Star with Valor, the Distinguished Flying Cross, two Legions of Merit, among others.

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While the cause of his demise wasn’t stated, Sullivan noted that it was not related to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Born on October 11, 1930, in San Antonio, Sam rose to become one of the most formidable Air Force pilots in history.

After graduating from Southern Methodist University in 1951, Johnson enlisted in the Air Force as a pilot. Throughout his military career, he flew about 100 missions and witnessed two wars as a combat veteran.

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However, it was his 25th mission in Vietnam that cemented his place as a national hero as he was captured as a prisoner of war after his plane was shot down in April 1966.

Johnson was held captive for almost seven years before he was released on February 12, 1973, with a permanently disabled right hand and a limp in his leg. However, that didn’t stop him from serving his country.

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After retiring 1979, Johnson became elected to the Texas state legislature in 1984, and then won his congressional seat in 1991. As noted by People Magazine, the congressman was the oldest member of congress to retire at 88 in 2019.

Upon hearing of his demise, several prominent people have paid tributes, including Former President George W. Bush and his wife Laura, who described him as a man of “humility and patriotism.”

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Texas Tribune recalls that Johnson was a recipient of many accolades during his lifetime including two Silver Stars, one Bronze Star with Valor, the Distinguished Flying Cross, two Legions of Merit, among others.

He was also given the Freedom of Flight Award in 2011. Congressman Johnson is survived by his daughters, Gini Johnson Mulligan and Beverly Johnson Briney, and ten grandchildren, per Associated Press.

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