LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – A soldier killed in action in Italy during World War Two is making his long-awaited return home to Arkansas Tuesday.
Private Rudolph “Rudy” Johnson, of Nashville (Howard County) was assigned to Company K, 3rd Battalion, 365th Infantry Regiment, 92nd Infantry Division (Buffalo Soldiers). The 92nd Infantry Division, the only African American combat infantry division in Europe, fought from Nov. 1944 until April 1945 at the Gothic Line in northern Italy.
The heaviest fighting took place in early February 1945, during Operation Fourth Term, when the 365th Infantry Regiment fought for days to secure positions along the Lama di Sotto ridge against strong German counterattacks.
Pvt. Johnson’s unit initially reported him Missing in Action (MIA) on 6 Feb. 1945. With no additional information regarding his whereabouts, the U.S. Army changed his status for MIA to Killed in Action (KIA) on 21 Feb. 1945.
Johnson’s remains will arrive at Clinton National Airport Tuesday afternoon. An honor ceremony will be held as the remains are removed from the plane. They will be laid to rest in the State Veterans cemetery in North Little Rock on Friday.