Wayne "Johnnie" Johnson is a true American hero, and deserves recognition and respect for his actions. This is especially true because at the time he secretly compiled and maintained his list, he was just a youth of 18 years. Mr. Johnson should have been invited to the White House and presented with a Medal of Honor. I salute him and wish him much health and happiness.

- Stanley t. Philbin; Gorham, Maine

Sgt. Wayne "Johnnie" Johnson

The Reader's Digest January 1997 story described how Sgt. Wayne "Johnnie" Johnson, a Korean War POW, kept and hid from his captors -- a meticulous list of some 500 fellow prisoners who died in captivity. Upon release, Johnson told U.S. authorities about his efforts, but the list had been largely forgotten -- and families of the deceased knew nothing of it. The Reader's Digest WEB site made the entire list of names available to the public for the first time. "Johnson's List" also triggered an outpouring of reader mail:

My brother, Robert Earl Gedney, was reported as missing in action, and my father received a Purple Heart for him. But until today, we did not know if he was dead or possibly alive somewhere. I found my brother's name on Johnson's list, which shows he died on December 9, 1950. Now we know he rests in peace.

--Carol A. Haltom, challam@tp.net


Before I was born, my uncle, Jansen Cox, was listed as MIA in Korea. Tonight I found his name on Johnson's list. Now my family will know what happened to Uncle Jan. We are a very close family, and you have helped to bring us a little closer to one who was lost to us a long time ago.

--Elizabeth Heath, evheath@tcia.net


I was filled with mixed emotions when I read "Johnson's List." I was grateful and amazed that Wayne Johnson cared enough to keep his list. I obtained a copy of the list from your Internet site, and my brother, "McKinley, Ralph H.," was on it. But I am furious that the government cared so little about the soldiers who gave their lives for their country and their families that they sat on this information.

--Juanita McKinley Biffle, Riverdale, GA.


They went not for conquest and not for gain,
but only to protect the anguished and the innocent.
They suffered greatly and by their heroism
in a thousand forgotten battles they added a
luster to the codes we hold most dear:
duty, honor, country, fidelity, bravery, integrity. . . .

--William Sessions, former FBI director and a veteran of the Korean War


Also included in the text of the chapters about my POW experiences are excerpts from the Army Security Agency document entitled U.S. Prisoners of War in the Korean Operation [War]: A Study of Their Treatment and Handling by the North Korean Army and the Chinese Communist Forces published in November of 1954. I find this document to be quite accurate in reporting the facts on the subject. Therefore, it is quoted extensively in order to give the reader a broader perspective of some of the aspects of the POW experience in Korea. Such excerpts are identified by the abbreviation "USPOWKW".

--Arden A. Rowley, American POW in Korea - 1950-53

Our Nation Honors
Her Sons and Daughters
Who Answered the Call
To Defend a Country
They Never Knew
And a People
They Never Met

The President The Vice President
United States Senate U. S. House of Representatives

The mailing address is:

1600 Pennsylvania Ave.

Washington, D.C. 20500

Phone: (202) 456-1414

Fax: (202) 456-288

Read more about Johnson's courage and compassion in the 1997 January issue of Reader's Digest.

For reprints of the complete article, call 1-800-289-6457.

The Tiger Survivors List

Dozens of people have contacted Reader's Digest Interactive about "Johnson's List." We'd like to thank everyone for their interest, especially those of you who noted that because of this article, you were able to find out the true fate of a relative or loved one.

For more information about the Tiger Survivors, you can write:

Tiger Survivors
Shorty R. Estabrook
24922 Muirlands Sp. 46
Lake Forest, CA 92630

"What Happened to the Tiger ?"

Many people have asked this question. Unfortunately, no one knows his true fate. Sources suggest several scenarios. Was The Tiger sentenced to prison ? Was he captured, convicted and executed ? Or was The Tiger released from his command, only to disappear forever ? No one knows. Moreover, military sources say that it would be almost impossible to track down The Tiger's whereabouts.

Thank you for your continued participation in "Join the Debate."

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