Remembering Howard “Smiley” Johnson

It’s Memorial Day, the unofficial start of summer.  Far more importantly, it’s the day we remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice.

One of the many men who died far too young during World War II was Packers guard Howard “Smiley” Johnson.  A U.S. Marine Captain, Johnson perished at Iwo Jima in February 1945.

As explained by WTMJ, Johnson played for the Packers from 1940 to 1941.  He and other teammates were scouting the Bears in a game against the Chicago Cardinals on December 7, 1941, when Japan attacked Pearl Harbor.

“‘Tony Canadeo said later on, ‘We were sitting up in the grandstands and we heard about Pearl Harbor, and everybody said, “Where the hell is Pearl Harbor?”‘” former Packers beat writer Art Daley told WTMJ.

A week later, Johnson played his last game for the Packers, a 33-14 playoff loss to the Bears.  It was the only postseason meeting between Green Bay and Chicago prior to the 2010 NFC title game.

The Packers Hall of Fame honors Johnson with a folded flag in a display case.  Let’s remember Johnson today, and everyone else who has died in the service of our country.

14 responses to “Remembering Howard “Smiley” Johnson

  1. Good article…every one should pause, even for just a moment today, to remember and acknowledge real heroes.

  2. Brave men like him have made is possible for us to snark freely. Thanks to all veterans.

  3. As a veteran, I want to say rest in peace to all of my brothers and sisters who have fallen. Never forget, all give some, some give all. We veterans hold a stronger bond than any of those in the US.

    Unlike most of America who can live a relatively segregated life, we have all races, all creeds, colors, religions, and back grounds. Hanging out with Zuppo, Keen, Green and others gave me a different perspective on life, and I am sure I had a similar effect on them. My brothers and sisters from other mothers are my family from my entire 12 year US Navy Career and beyond.

  4. Leave it to a Vikings fan to take an article about a great man and turn it into a swipe at a team and fan base much greater than his own.

    Ah, well, you can’t teach class.

    Go Packers!

  5. unbiasfan says:
    May 27, 2013 12:54 PM
    A true great Packer, unlike the ones who are on the team now
    I’m pretty sure that my friends Bob Sydney and Mike Wenner, both Packer fans and both lost in Vietnam, wouldn’t care much for this comment either. While I think it was meant with intent to honor Howard, there’s no need to diss the guys on the current team to do that. Bob, Mike and Howard gave everything for us and so let’s just make it about them and the thousands of others that died for us.
    Since these guys can’t say it, I’ll say it for them ….

    GO PACK !!!!

  6. And you call yourself a Browns fan? I agree Unbias. Don’t throw Viking fans under the bus for this. Wasn’t us.

  7. The Buffalo Bills had a guard named Bob Kalsu who was killed in Viet Nam in 1970. And how can you forget Pat Tillman?

  8. Guys back then had solid nicknames like Smiley or Tex or Brooklyn. Now we give crap nicknames like A-rod or RGIII or Shady.

    Rest in piece, fallen soldiers.

  9. On the Bears side of the ball, a rookie named Young Bussey played QB/DB in 1941. He enlisted in 1942 and was killed during the invasion of Lingayen Gulf in the Philippines, in January 1945. According to the Bears website, Bussey was the only member of the Bears killed during WWII, despite the fact that 40 team members served during the war. I learned about Bussey by playing APBA football as a kid and never forgot him.

    We owe these two men, and many like them, a great debt.

  10. I would just like to say thank you and god bless all of our veterans past and present for there and there family’s sacrifice !!!!! you have my utmost respect and I don’t care what team you are a fan of.

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