Matt Johnson
CWO3 USN (Ret)

CWO3 Matt Johnson, USN

CWO3 Matt Johnson, USN (1988)

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CWO3 Matt Johnson's Mini-Autobiography

January 16, 2005

Hi Jake,

I took the opportunity to visit your homepage. Again, a lot of hard work. I wanted to give you a brief "Bio" of myself and the "fun" I have had for the past 60 years (in April 2005)...

I was born in Dallas, Texas and raised by a single Mom. Only remember seeing my father a couple of times. At age 4, I contacted Polio but was one of the lucky ones and didn't have any after effects. Then at age 5, I had my first operation, a Baker's Cyst removed from behind my left knee. After graduating from St. James Catholic grammar school, my mother decided to get me away from the problems of growing up in a big city and had me live with my grandparents in the 2,000 population town of Bastrop, Texas - about 39 miles East of Austin. Probably the best thing that happened to me. I learned that a hand shake and a man's word were more important than any piece of paper. At 15, operation #2 came along when I broke my left femur playing football. A plate was installed and the following year, #3 was performed to remove the plate. I played football my senior year and was selected to the All District Defense Team. Also my senior year I was selected as the MVP basketball player for our team. I didn't realize it at the time, but people looked at me as an achiever after all the trauma I had experienced. Then came the letter from the government (my sea stories) and I joined the Navy. I met my first wife and we got married after my first cruise. Two girls were born out of that marriage before we divorced. Operation #4 come in 1967 when they took out some bone fragments from my left ankle and #5 was the next year when the right ankle got it's turn. When I got orders to Rota, Spain, I joined the Rodeo Club and on the first bareback ride I got bucked off and broke/dislocated my left elbow. So, after it healed, I decided to become the rodeo clown for the club. Making people laugh was enjoyable. In '73 I was back in the states, stationed at NAS Miramar outside San Diego and decided to ride a bull, resulting in 5 broken ribs. I was dating my soon to be second wife and now wonder what she was thinking of me (must have worked, we celebrate our 30th anniversary in March). After 3 cruises on Hancock, 2 years at Rota, I was assigned to VF-143 and did 2 cruises on the Enterprise and 2 cruises on the America. Wanting to get back to California, I applied for AO "C" school in Memphis and successfully completed it to be assigned to Moffett Field as their Small Arms Marksmanship Instructor. The pistol range was a mess, so a new one was in progress when I arrived. I was assigned two helpers and between the 3 of us, we built the best range on the West Coast, hosting the 12th Naval District Pistol Matches in '78 & '79. Then it was off to the Coral Sea and an Indian Ocean cruise. By far, my best career enhancing duty station. I checked onboard as AO1, selected as Sailor of the Year the first year, made AOC the second year and CWO2 the following year. Then I became the Air Gunner on the Enterprise in 1983 and stay aboard for 5 years (loved the sea). But, 8 consecutive years at sea was starting to wear on me, so I left and reported to Moffett Field as the Weapons Officer. At age 43, and finding out that Uncle Sam was going to send me to the East Coast I retired with 23 years and 24 days active service, eighteen of which had been sea duty. My first (of many) civilian jobs was as an Operations Manager in a glass recycling plant. After running a flight deck, this was a piece of cake. Then OM of a paper recycling plant then OM for an armored car company and finally a General Manager of a document destruction company. Every place I went, I made things so simple that I worked myself out of a job. While at the armored car company, I found out that I had renal cell cancer, which resulted in #6 and removal of my right kidney. In 2002, bladder problems came about and #7 was performed. Then in 2003 a cyst grew in my right throat, no problem, remove it - which resulted in #8. A biopsy of the cyst showed cancer of the lymph nodes, so #9 was performed at Stanford and radiation followed. And now that 2005 is in it's infancy stages and (as you know) I am getting ready to go to battle again. Next week I find out if treatment will be started or not. But, life will go on and I will be a part of it.

So Jake, there you have it. My life in a "Nuttshell" - Sorry to bore you with the length but, for some reason just felt the urge to correspond.

Take Care Shipmate,

Your Friend,

Matt


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