In early August, Diamond Point’s John Johnson’s T-6 travels from San Diego to Pearl Harbor for the 75th commemoration of the end of War War II in the Pacific Ocean. Johnson and his neighbor Dave Richardson will fly the plane as part of the celebration. Photo courtesy of Dave Richardson

In early August, Diamond Point’s John Johnson’s T-6 travels from San Diego to Pearl Harbor for the 75th commemoration of the end of War War II in the Pacific Ocean. Johnson and his neighbor Dave Richardson will fly the plane as part of the celebration. Photo courtesy of Dave Richardson

Local pilots quarantine for journey to WWII anniversary event

Historic plane boards USS Essex in San Diego

Quarantined in a hotel like professional athletes, Diamond Point’s John Johnson and Dave Richardson await the go-ahead for their adventure west with the crew of the USS Essex.

The naval ship is tentatively set to embark on Monday, Aug. 3 to Pearl Harbor for the 75th anniversary of the end of war in the Pacific and World War II.

Johnson and Richardson will fly Johnson’s T-6 Texan with several other historical warbirds from the era, for festivities Aug. 29-Sept. 2, including a Legacy of Peace Aerial Parade over the Pearl Harbor Memorial/Battleship Missouri Memorial.

The friends flew to San Diego on July 14 and have been in quarantine awaiting an all-clear for COVID-19.

Johnson’s plane was loaded aboard the ship on July 25 with several other historic airplanes; however, some pilots dropped out because of concerns regarding the 2019 novel coronavirus.

Hawaii’s leaders issued a mandatory 14-day quarantine earlier this month for all passengers to and from the state on or before Aug. 31.

Richardson said they’ve been quarantined in a hotel next to the Naval Air Station North Island, San Diego, but they are able to walk alone on the nearby beach with food brought to their door everyday.

They’ve also been able to spend some time on plane maintenance prior to it going aboard the Essex, he said.

“We’re doing well. We still like each other,” Richardson said in a phone interview. “The (COVID-19 test) determines if we’re released to the ship or back to quarantine. If cleared, then we can move around on the ship.”

The friends also were tracking Hurricane Douglas, which came within 25 miles of Oahu.

“We’re really happy the hurricane is ahead of us and not behind us,” Richardson said.

To continue with the trip despite possible obstacles holds special meaning to the friends as they’re both veterans and longtime pilots. Johnson is a retired FedEx pilot and U.S. Army Green Beret veteran, and Richardson is a retired California Department of Transportation employee and U.S. Air Force veteran.

“This is important,” said Richardson in a previous interview. “ We could potentially be speaking a different language if we lost World War II.”

For more information about the 75th anniversary of the end of World War II, visit www.75thwwiicommemoration.org.

John Johnson and Dave Richardson stand with Richardson’s T-6 Texan airplane in San Diego days before it was loaded aboard the USS Essex for travel to Oahu for commemorations of the end of World War II.

John Johnson and Dave Richardson stand with Richardson’s T-6 Texan airplane in San Diego days before it was loaded aboard the USS Essex for travel to Oahu for commemorations of the end of World War II.

The USS Essex will transport historic World War II planes to Pearl Harbor to fly for the 75th commemoration of the end of World War II in the Pacific Ocean. Diamond Point’s John Johnson and Dave Richardson plan to travel aboard too. Photo by John Johnson

The USS Essex will transport historic World War II planes to Pearl Harbor to fly for the 75th commemoration of the end of World War II in the Pacific Ocean. Diamond Point’s John Johnson and Dave Richardson plan to travel aboard too. Photo by John Johnson

John Johnson’s T-6 airplane is loaded on July 25 aboard the USS Essex for its journey to Pearl Harbor for the 75th commemoration of the end of War War II in the Pacific Ocean in late August. Photo courtesy of Dave Richardson

John Johnson’s T-6 airplane is loaded on July 25 aboard the USS Essex for its journey to Pearl Harbor for the 75th commemoration of the end of War War II in the Pacific Ocean in late August. Photo courtesy of Dave Richardson

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