Ray Padre “Doc” Johnson
By Dr. H.R. Meier

International author, art critic, and United Nations historian, Dr. Noel Brown, writes in his biographical presentation of Padre, that “he has truly lived the adventure of the renaissance man in our time.”

In the 1990’s our International award-winning artist and author completed his internationally celebrated 13-year journey with the Faces of the Human Family project by actually living with the people as they lived in 149 nations. This also involved crisscrossing all 50 states of the USA through the years to listen, observe, enjoy, and communicate with its people and cultural diversity.

Padre’s resulting 500 portraits of the World that reflects the best in the human drama by capturing the open, trusting, and accepting expression of the child in every facial image of all ages were painted on his centerpiece canvas of the human family and on 24 additional canvases representing the 24 geographical regions of our planet. This one of a kind ever project in the history of the world and his book, Journeys with the Global Family, presents his worldview philosophy of life and also excellent photo reproductions of his award-winning western, wildlife and all his global portraits, were both featured at a very successful United Nations New York premiere opening and overseas premiere at Beijing China’s Forbidden City Royal Palace site. It was the first time that an American artist was invited to exhibit and speak at this prestigious site in China.

Dr. Brown further writes; “To understand the natural spirit of freedom and breathing quality in Padre’s unique forms of artistic creativity and written insights, you have to appreciate the influence that the following interesting range of life events and job descriptions had in shaping the quality in his present artistic and written accomplishments. Some of these include living the life of an authentic working cowboy with a number of major Wyoming and Montana ranching outfits, including the famous 450,000-acre Padlock Ranch on the edge of the Big Horn Mountains. He was also a blue collar worker in heavy construction and transportation, a very successful college athlete in the sports of football and baseball in which he was offered a bonus contract with the Dodgers, a hospital emergency room and operating room medical technician during the period of his medical studies, an ordained Lutheran Church in America pastor and a holder of state and national Leadership positions in government and human services. During and following his successful and fulfilling chapters in government service he completed the work on his doctorate in the combined academic disciplines of theology and cultural anthropology. Padre is also the recipient of many leading achievement awards in recognition of his art, humanitarian, and written accomplishments.

In view of his extensive medical background, he was officially assigned for the first time in American military history to serve in an independent duty position as both the chaplain and in a leading field medical officer position with his Black Beret “River Raider” Assault Force One Special Forces unit in Vietnam’s Mekong Delta Region. For his many successful life-saving medical rescue mission efforts under some of the most impossible combat situations, during which he was twice wounded in two separate battles, he was very highly decorated with two Silver Stars, the Legion of Merit with Valor, the Bronze Star, the Vietnamese Cross, and two Purple Hearts – becoming one of the highest decorated chaplains and medical officers in the history of the US military.

A year after his return from Vietnam, he was honored as one of the Ten Outstanding Young Americans. It was only the second time in the awards history, from its beginning in 1938, that this prestigious honor was given for one’s military medical accomplishments in combat. In previous years this honor was given to such notables as John F. Kennedy, Henry Kissinger and many others for their national and global leadership accomplishments. An example in the area of classical music is that of the famous Leonard Bernstein. He was selected for his celebrated musical skills in writing and also directing the New York Philharmonic Orchestra. Vice President Dick Cheney and Padre are the two Wyomingites to receive this honor.

R. Padre Johnson’s 1969 “Ten Outstanding Young Americans” acceptance speech at the filled-to-capacity Syracuse, New York convention center (Syracuse was the sponsoring city in 1969.
It was only the second time that this prestigious honor was
presented to a member of the military since its beginning in 1938.

Currently, Padre receives invitations to present his world view insights and art at International conferences, churches, colleges, universities and schools of all levels throughout the USA, Canada and overseas.

Dr. Brown concludes his biographical description of Padre’s fascinating many lives journey with the following insight. He writes, “As we move on through the approaching years of rapid global change, I believe that Padre’s exceptional ability to translate his insights of the human family and the meaning and purpose of our human existence through the creativity of his visual art, writings, refreshing humor and the spoken word, will not only provide a very important visual contribution toward increased understanding among the people of our planet but will maintain a unique historical significance as he leaves his enduring mark on the consciousness of each reader, viewer and listener.”

Former political speech writer and patron of the arts, Dr. H. R. Meier, followed, researched and wrote about Padre’s many lives journey until his passing in 2009. He wrote this 2008 reduced-size version from the larger version.

The following Medal of Honor request involves the written recommendation from one of there high level 2023 personalities to recommend that R. Padre “Doc” Johnson, and twice wounded medical chaplain with Mobile Riverine Assult Force One in the Vietnam Wars Mekong Delta Region receive the Congressional Medal of Honor for his well documented medical life saving and rescue intervention “legendary heroics” and “his successful mission impossible” efforts during the historic battle of Concordia One on June 19-20, 1967.

The carnage of Concordia One was one of the most casualty riddled battles of the Vietnam War! It recorded 58 American KIA (killed in action) and 163 wounded – most during the first two hrs of June 19, 1967.

Medal of Honor Recommendation
The Medal of Honor Recommendation by Harry Hahn, President of Mobile Riverine Force Association.

One of the many credible eyewitnesses to our Padre “Doc” Johnson’s mission impossible but successful medical life saving/rescue intervention efforts.

In the same interview that Padre gave to the Military magazine concerning some of the details during his “longest day” story, Lt. Ray Riessco, the commander of River Div III on June 19th, 20th, was also briefly interviewed by the magazine because of his uniquely positioned eye witnessed observations of Padre’s on-field medical intervention efforts during that longest day.

Riessco said each time he watched the Doc move back into that field of death, he just knew that he couldn’t possibly return. But each time he returned to resupply his medical bag and stay to assist in his shore landed medical boat facility before returning to that field. Riessco continued by saying that all he could do was pray for our medical and spiritual leader. he continued, “the Padre must have had three angels protecting him during the completion of his mission impossible task!”