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100 Year Old WWII Veteran Awarded Green Beret and SF Tab

Celebrate the newest member of the Special Forces Regiment!

At the incredible age of 100, Ellsworth “Al” Johnson was awarded the Special Forces Tab and coveted Green Beret. He just might be the last living member of the Office of Strategic Services Operational Group (OSSOG) and likely the last WWII veteran to get his SF tab!

Then-Pfc. Ellsworth Johnson (top right), a medic assigned to the Office of Strategic Services’ Operational Groups, poses for a photo with fellow unit members in an undated 1944 photo taken in Brockhall, Northamptonshire, England during their training. (Courtesy of 1st Special Forces Command)

On August 14th, 1944, Mr. Johnson bravely jumped into France as a member of OG PATRICK. His remarkable efforts helped prevent the destruction of the Eguzon Dam, one of the largest hydroelectric dams in Europe. On July 27th, 1945, Mr. Johnson jumped with the 2nd Chinese Commando into an occupied China as part of the BLUEBERRY mission, leaving an incredible mark in history. Mr. Johnson was also sent to China and trained Chinese Commandos, helping establish their first airborne capability.

In case you didn’t know, Operational Groups (OG)are the original model for the Operational Detachment Alpha (ODA). The multi-faceted mission of the Operational Groups was to organize, train, and equip local resistance organizations, and to conduct ‘hit and run’ missions against enemy-controlled roads, railways, and strong points, or to prevent their destruction by retreating enemy forces during WWII. Most members of OG were Airborne and language qualified.

To honor Ellsworth’s incredible contributions and heroism, the USASOC Deputy Commanding General Maj. Gen Patrick Roberson and the 1st Special Forces Command – Airborne Brig. Gen. Lawrence Gil Ferguson presented Mr. Johnson with a SF Tab on 1 September, 2023, officially recognizing him as a Green Beret.

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