Johnson, 2017-93 TB 136
This uniform belonged to Lt. Col. Lucian Mitchell Johnson (1918- 2008) who was born November 25, 1918 in Wauchula, Florida to the parents of Bethel Curtis and Ruby Thurmond Johnson. When he was young, he lost his mother and his father remarried Florence Elizabeth Waters Johnson. Though he grew up in Florida, the family moved to Valdosta in 1938. He married Annette Elizabeth Dasher (1922- 1983). After her death, he married Dorris Johnson who gave the acquisition to the museum in 2017.
In 1940, he took a job in a defense plant in Detroit, Michigan and lived with his uncle and aunt until he was inducted into the US Army in 1943. He first served as crew navigator flying B-24 Liberator bombers in the 42nd Bomb Squadron , 11 Bomb Group, 7th Air Force in the Pacific Theatre stationed in Guam and then in Okinawa when the war ended. He was called back to duty during the Korean War and was assigned to the 56th Strategic Reconnaissance Squadron at Misawa and Yokoto Air Bases in Japan again as a crew navigation. Through his service, he chose Valdosta as his residence and Moody Air Force Base as his final base, retiring in 1971. His ribbon rack displays the following awards Legion of Merit (pink and white), Air Medal, Air Force Commendation, Outstanding Unit Award Military Ribbon, American Threatre Campaign Medal, Asia Pacific Medal with 4 stars, WWII Victory, Army of Occupation Medal, National Defense Medal, NATO with three stars, Air Force Longevity Service Award with 4 oak clusters, Armed Forces Reserve, United Nations Medal.
According to his obituary posted on the Carson McLane Funeral Home website, his two proudest military honors were being selected as Regular Officer in the USAF and awarded Master Aerial Navigator rating in 1956.
If you would like more details, you may enjoy reading the book he wrote entitled The Life and Times of Lucian Mitchell Johnson.
Jones 85-454 TB39R9Sb2
Carl Lee Jones (1905-1994) was born in Valdosta to Charles Lee Jones (1897-1949) and Virginia Irene Knight (1868-1940) and graduated from Valdosta High in 1924. After graduating from Georgia Tech in 1930, Jones went on to teach mechanical engineering at Carnegie Tech in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He married Dorothy Lile Jones who grew up in Middlesboro, Kentucky, and New Philadelphia, Ohio, but moved to Valdosta and lived with her uncle and aunt, Maurice R. and Annie L. Ousley, while attending college. Dorothy graduated in 1930 from Valdosta Woman’s College and became an educator, teaching for many years. During WWII Carl Jones was stationed as an instructor at Murfreesboro, Tennessee and Pensacola, Florida. Carl and Dorothy Jones moved back to Valdosta in 1993 and were active members of the community. Both are buried at Sunset Hill Cemetery in Valdosta. His photo and information is listed in A Calender for 1996; A Family Album Of World War II Memories, Book II which is on our web site at https://valdostamuseum.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/Part-2-1996.pdf
David Robinson Jones (1916-1986) was born December 23, 1916 in Ulster County, New York to John Ward and Leona C. Jones. He served in the Army July 15, 1940 through December 16, 1945. In 1957 he and his wife Betty Smith (1914-1988) made their home in Valdosta where he worked as a civilian for Moody Air Force Base as a Personnel Director until 1972. The photo of David R. Jones shown here is from a 1958 Moody Air Force Yearbook housed in the museum. He is listed in the 1972 Valdosta City Directory as working for the County Planning Commission until his retirement in 1977. They continued to live in their home in Valdosta until 1984. He died in Pinetta, Florida on October 13, 1986.
His WWII four pocket army jacket bears the infantry pin on the right lapel and US gold pins on both lapels. Ribbons pinned to his jacket included the American Defense and the European-African-Mid East Division with a the star, indicating he participated in a major engagement for 6 months. The garrison cap with dark piping has two silver bars indicating the rank of Captain. Included with his uniform is his mohair khaki tie and button fly khaki pants.
Col. Edwin Kelly began his affiliation with the military as an orderly for a Capt. Halcombe in Valdosta, Georgia. Later, while earning his Bachelors Degree at the University of Miami, Kelly joined the 121st National Guard Unit. He was then recruited by the 265th Coast Guard Artillery Unit and sent to Ft. Galveston, Texas. Seeing signs of a world war, Kelly resigned from his artillery unit to join the Army and was sent to Jefferson Barracks in Illinois where he was selected, along with 15 others, to attend Airborne Radar Operations Weapons System School. Kelly trained on the P-61 Black Widow as a Weapons System Officer, protecting pilots from B-25 and B-29 bombers. After training, he was stationed in Chengtu, China under the command of Major General Chennault as a radio communications officer with the infamous Flying Tigers. He was proud that during his duration, he lost no B-29’s and the few B-25 losses were only due to a ground bomb raid. Later, Kelly was sent to Japan as part of the Occupational Forces and promoted to the rank of Major.
After WWII, Kelly worked in the Pentagon under General Curtis E. LeMay, and assisted in the development of the Command and Control Operation Systems Manual used in the Vietnam War. Not forgetting his home, in 1953, he brought a communications tactical squadron to Moody Air Force Base.
Kelly was appointed to the position of Communications Squadron Commander of Barksdale Air Force Base and under his command his squadron received top honors. While there, he developed a radar system that could track moving objects at night. Later he was appointed Deputy Chief of Staff, Operations, European Communication Area where he received the Meritorious Service Medal.
Kelly served his country during WWII, the Korean Conflict, and Vietnam. He retired after 30 years of service with the rank of Colonel and resided in Valdosta until his death in 2015.
Edwin Kelly donated his Flying Tigers Patch and a blood chit pin.
Langdale 78-192 TB 10R10Sb1, 12R9Sd3
John Wesley Langdale (Feb. 8, 1917- 1998) attended North Georgia College, US Naval Acadamy, and the University of Georgia where he received his law degree. He practiced law in Valdosta in 1940 before joining the Navy in 1941. He was commissioned an officer in 1942. He was first assigned work as an instructor for the Naval Reserve School and received sea duty as an operations officer aboard the USS Owen, the flag ship of the Destroyer Squadron 52 in the South Pacific. While attached to the Destroyer Squadron 52, he was in Tokyo Bay when the Japanese surrendered.
With others from Valdosta, John Wesley Langdale is listed in the Roll of Honor of the First Baptist Church, Dec 27,1942 as an Ensign. He was later promoted to Lieutenant as shown by the two gold stripes and gold star on his uniform sleeve. At the end of his naval career, he had advanced to Lt. Commander according to a Valdosta Daily Times archived in the Susie McKey Thomas Vertical Files Collection in the museum. He was awarded a Bronze Star and the Pacific Theatre Ribbon.
After the war, John Langdale contributed to this area in many capacities. He served as Echols County Attorney, President of the Langdale Company, chairman and/or director of several local banks, Director of Georgia Power Co, Director of Georgia State Chamber of Commerce, Director of Georgia Forestry Association, and President of the Valdosta-Lowndes County Chamber of Commerce. He was also a Representative in the Georgia General Assembly (1949-1952), State Senator, Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee in 1957-1958, on the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia 1964-1971, and was active in promoting Valdosta State College for which the School of Business named a classroom in his honor and gave him an honorary degree. He was also active in the Rotary Club and the First Baptist Church of Valdosta.
Little 2016-53 TB 102R8Sb2
Albert Pendleton Little ( 1922-2016), a Valdosta native, son of Albert J. and Bessie Pendleton Little served in the Army Medical Corps in India during WWII. His military duffle bag was recently donated to the museum containing his stamped name and serial number and his tag with his home address located on Ashley Street and also his APO address. The back of the tag has his handwritten name and military number. His rank on the bag shows he was T/4.
Luke 2011-34 TB 106R8Sc1
After his two year service, he established a men’s store with his two brothers in downtown Valdosta and in 1957 went into business for himself. In the Susie McKey Thomas Vertical Files Collection of Valdosta Daily Times articles housed at the museum, Luke is quoted as saying “We were the first air-conditioned building in Valdosta.” when speaking of his shop. Olan Luke was a founder of the Downtown Merchants Association and was awarded The Georgia Retailers Association’s Retailer of the Year and the Southeast Merchant of the Year and was member of the board of directors of the Valdosta-Lowndes County Chamber of Commerce. He was in business in Valdosta for 53 years.