Bill Johnson was born July 11, 1926 in the town of Selma, North Carolina. Mr. Johnson’s father was an auto mechanic, and his mother worked in a cotton mill. Taken care of by their grandmother, Bill and his younger brother were put to work in the house often. At sixteen Bill worked in the cotton mill with his mother, and two years later he enlisted in the Navy upon graduating high school. Mr. Johnson served on a destroyer in the Pacific, and after the war, he attended art school. Shortly after art school, he began working as an artist for the FBI—a job he loved. Bill, now 92, lives in Centreville with his wife, Kathy.
In this interview, Mr. Johnson shares his experiences on the Home Front and the war front. Bill remembers growing up in a small town and not having much, but he says that “It was a ball!” His Home Front memories range from descriptions of work in the cotton mill to home life after the Great Depression. When reflecting on his Navy service, he remembers his time in Japan and the relief he felt when the War was over. Bill also observed Hiroshima after the bombs were dropped, and spoke about being an escort for the USS Missouri when the Japanese formally surrendered.