Serving the community since 1970

Minter Field receives dream donation

Ronald Pierce, director of the Minter Field Air Museum, said that it is still hard to believe the museum's good fortune in the past few weeks, being awarded a $40,000 donation to help them complete a repainting of the museum and other projects.

Pierce said that an article was published in the Bakersfield Californian a few weeks ago, regarding the need for volunteers and funds to help the museum.

A few days later, Pierce received a call from a gentleman that said he was with a foundation that wished to help the museum realize their dream. The donor, preferring to remain anonymous, said that he was with the Charles Johnson Foundation, named for a Vietnam War veteran who passed away in 2015. The namesake of the foundation was the inspiration for the foundation, and they mainly focus on military and veterans organizations, as well as first responders and their causes.

After the call, it took Pierce some time to realize that it wasn't a hoax, and that it was a legitimate offer of help.

"I still can't believe our great fortune," said Pierce. "We are going to be able to paint the museum, as well as get a few other things done that we have had on the back burners."

Charlie Johnson served in Vietnam as an officer with the 2nd Ranger Battalion, 5th Cavalry, according to the family fund. In November 1965, he fought in the Ia Drang Valley, in a battle later documented in the movie, "We Were Soldiers."

During combat in February 1966, Johnson was wounded in action. He not only received the Purple Heart, he also was awarded the Bronze Star Medal..

After returning home from Vietnam, Johnson married his college sweetheart, Katrin "Kathy" Brun. Charlie and Kathy lived in Mill Valley, while Charlie pursued his MBA in finance at Stanford University.

Charlie went on to a career in banking while residing briefly in Managua, Nicaragua, and Shanghai, China, prior to returning to San Francisco and ultimately southern California. He died in 2015.


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