PLANO, Texas (CBSDFW.COM) – A long-time former North Texas Congressman and war hero was laid to rest in North Texas on Monday.
He was buried with full military honors, befitting of a man who dedicated his life to service.
“There are very few folks who are real heroes. That word is thrown around a lot,” said Ray Sullivan, his former press secretary. “This is someone who served his country in the most dire, terrible circumstances.”
A highly-decorated military fighter pilot, Johnson flew 62 combat missions in the Korean War and 25 in the Vietnam War.
“Sam had actually never flown an airplane, and yet he decided to get into flight school, and he became one of the great flyers of all time,” said Dr. Jack Graham of Prestonwood Baptist Church during Johnson’s eulogy.
His plane was shot down in North Vietnam, and he spent nearly seven years as a prisoner of war.
After he returned, he spent six years in the Texas House of Representatives and then 28 years as a Republican Congressman for the 3rd Congressional district.
The funeral procession began in downtown Plano to Restland Memorial Park.
Gatherers along the way wore red, white and blue.
The service ended with a flyover tribute from the Air Force Thunderbirds – one final flight for the consummate pilot.
Congressman Johnson was also remembered as a great family man.
He was married to his wife, Shirley, for 65 years before her death in 2015.