After 77 years, Lt. George Johnson is finally home in Seaford

After 77 years, Lt. George Johnson is finally home in Seaford
Lt. George Johnson, killed in World War II, was laid to rest next to his mother in Seaford on Saturday. Photo by Cassidy McGurk

By Cassidy McGurk

Correction: An earlier version of this story misstated Johnson's burial place. He is buried near his mother.

On a warm afternoon Saturday, Lt. George Johnson was laid to rest at Odd Fellows Cemetery in Seaford, almost 80 years after his death in World War II.

Active and retired military from several generations and conflicts attended to honor one of their own, along with family and friends.  

Johnson’s remains were brought to Baltimore Washington International Airport on Tuesday, Sept. 28. A visitation Saturday was followed by an interment with full military honors. The celebration of life continued at American Legion Post 6 in Seaford.

Johnson grew up in Seaford and graduated from Seaford High School in 1938. He enlisted when he was only 15, served in the Delaware National Guard, then went on to attend flight school as World War II began.

He died Jan. 21, 1944, off the Tarawa Atoll in the Pacific, at only age 23. He was a co-pilot on a B-24 bomber that crashed shortly after takeoff.

He was not initially identified and was considered missing in action. However, in 2009, remains were located and investigated, as reported by the Delaware State News. Scientific analysis determined that these remains were of Sgt. John Roland Busch, who was already believed to be accounted for and buried in New York. The remains under Busch’s name were exhumed, analyzed, and found to belong to Lt. Johnson in 2019.

Although it was a somber occasion, there was a sense of pride and relief: Johnson was finally home. He was close to his mother in life, and his family chose for him to be buried near her instead of at Arlington National Cemetery.