Earlier this week, former Congressman Sam Johnson (R- Texas) passed away at the age of 89. Congressman Johnson was a war hero, serving in both the Korean War and Vietnam War. He was also instrumental in creating what is now known at the Sam Johnson Vietnam Archive (VNCA) at Texas Tech University.

“Sam Johnson embodied the very best of America. In the face of unthinkable adversity as a Prisoner of War for seven years in Vietnam, he displayed unwavering faith and courage. He brought those same convictions to Congress where Johnson served for nearly thirty years, earning the trust and respect of all who had the pleasure of knowing him,” said Congressman Jodey Arrington (R- Texas).

Arrington continued, “Most importantly, he was a dedicated husband, father, and grandfather whose love for his country was surpassed only by his love for his family. It was an honor to be able to call him my friend. I cannot think of a life more fully lived, and one with a greater impact on our country and our fellow man, than that of Chairman Johnson. While all who know him can rest assured he is finally in the presence of His Lord and reunited with his beloved Shirly, please join me in keeping his two daughters and their family in your prayers.”

"Many students come to Texas Tech to study the war that Sam Johnson served in and that nearly cost him his life," said Ron Milam, executive director for the Institute for Peace & Conflict, within which the VNCA is situated. "They will forever be able to learn not only about his service, but also about the many who served with him through the Sam Johnson Vietnam Archive. We are proud to display his name on our millions of archival holdings."

"We are profoundly saddened by the death of Congressman Sam Johnson and extend to his family and friends our heartfelt condolences," said Steve Maxner, director of the VNCA. "Congressman Johnson's extensive military and political careers reflected his deeply held commitment to serving our state and our nation. A Vietnam veteran and Vietnam prisoner of war for nearly seven years, Congressman Johnson remained a tireless supporter of our nation's veterans, for their health and well-being, but also to preserve their historical legacy of service and sacrifice during war. All of us at Texas Tech are very proud to be a part of that legacy."

During his military service, Johnson served as a fighter pilot and flew combat missions in both the Korean and Vietnam Wars. He was captured by enemy forces during the Vietnam War and endured nearly seven years as a prisoner of war in the infamous Hanoi Hilton, including 42 months in solitary confinement.

Texas Tech's Vietnam Center Archive was renamed in Johnson's honor in 2017.