"Distinguished Affiliates"


Distinguished Affiliates
of the Golden Knights

are people, groups, organizations and/or others who, through their service to the Team, have earned singular distinction.

The Golden Knights respect and honor
the many people/groups whose support and efforts make possible the incredible organization that is the Golden Knights.

The Distinguished Affiliates is a project of the Alumni Website to recognize the
people/groups who have contributed to the Golden Knights and who have not been formally recognized through other awards.

There are those who work diligently behind-the-scenes, or who are always there for that "on the spot" help, or who provide ongoing support, or are the unsung heroes of our history.

We invite your suggestions as to whom is worthy of inclusion on our Honor Roll.

Both military and/or civilian personnel/groups are eligible for selection as Distinguished Affiliates.  Tell us as much as you can in your nomination.     The reason for an Affiliate's selection is noted in the Roster list.

Iron Mike

Many People and Groups have been
Instrumental in the Success of the
Golden Knights.

Help us tell their story.
Who do you think should be in Our Honor Roll?

The following people/groups had a direct and important influence on the development and/or success of the Golden Knights.

  JOHNSON, Vernon G

It was MAJ Vernon Johnson who took BG Joe Stilwell's visions, and made them realities. Adjutant General for the 82nd Airborne Division [circa 1957-1965], MAJ Johnson extracted talented jumpers from their parent organizations, and placed them on SD (Special Duty) to the STRAC SPT, a feat which often did not make him popular with the commanders of the servicemen.

Among those whose talents he secured for the STRAC SPT are: Jim Arender, Bill Edge, Jim Pearson, Kurt Hughes, Jack Helms, Ron Brown, Al Solis, Bob McDonnell, Roy D Martin
and Lee RK Smith.

MAJ Johnson was president of the 82nd Sport Parachute Club, circa 1960. The Sport Parachute Clubs provided off-hours opportunities for paratroopers to practice their skydiving skills.  MAJ Johnson was a skydiver and loved to jump with the 82nd Sport Parachute Club.  According to Lee RK Smith, "We loved him like a big brother."

MAJ Johnson's efforts were just as important to the success of the HALO Test Project, and other related activities.  Remember, the importance and value of sky diving had yet to be understood by the military authorities. Military resources and support were meager, at best. MAJ Johnson not only encouraged the program, he directly contributed to the success of the program with his personal and professional support. The STRAC SPT was able to make incredible progress in a very short time, because of his support. The efforts, dedication and cooperation of people like MAJ Johnson were invaluable to the STRAC SPT.

According to Roy Martin, first USAPT XO and second Commander, "Major Vernon G. Johnson, was the action person for the 82nd ABN Division Parachute Club. He had the respect of General Beech and Stillwell. He was the man that pulled the cord that operated the curtain. When he spoke it was done. That was how HALO, Towers Moon, and so many other assignments were done."

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