Forgotten Soldier Charlie Johnson - The Charlie Johnson Legacy Project


Charlie Johnson


PBS Tribute - May 30, 2010

Stars Dennis Haysbert ("24", "Allstate" commercials) and Gary Sinise ("Forest Gump", "CSI: New York") recounted the heroic actions of Charlie Johnson. To learn more, visit the PBS Memorial Day Concert Site.

Who Was Charlie Johnson?

Charles Johnson lived his life thinking of others before himself. A native of Millbrook, NY, Charlie's selfless volunteerism in the community and his kindness toward neighbors and fellow students are legendary. Family and friends knew him as "Buddy."

Charlie graduated from Arlington High School in 1951, where he was a talented student, musician, athlete and leader. He is remembered as a young man of exceptional character.

At the age of 20, Charles was killed in Korea after valiantly saving the lives of nine Americans including fellow Arlington graduate Don Dingee, Sr. (Read the complete story)

Charlie died as he lived—forever thinking of others before himself.

Our Mission

The mission of the Charlie Johnson Legacy Project is to create a legacy of outstanding character values and morals for which Charlie Johnson was admired; and teach current and future Arlington students to embrace and emulate these desirable qualities.

The legacy of Charlie Johnson is so compelling that over 50 years after his death, he is now inspiring future generations of Americans. By the example he set in his life, Charlie continues to help others by teaching Arlington students character lessons that will hold them in good stead throughout their lives.

The Charlie Johnson Legacy Project represents outreach, connection and community. The story of Charlie's life connects alumni and students with the Dutchess County community that raised Charlie Johnson.

These eight words define Charlie Johnson. Eight words offer powerful lessons and inspire us all to remember the deeds of Charlie Johnson and to emulate his great character.

Charlie's friends and classmates, working together with the Arlington Education Foundation and Arlington School District students, staff and administrators, have established "The Charlie Johnson Legacy Project."

Plans include:

  1. A statue in Arlington High School reflecting Charlie Johnson's heroism. (See a model of the statue)
  2. Scholarships for Arlington High School seniors who reflect the values of honor, integrity and selfless service to others.
  3. A memorial hall to honor all Arlington veterans who lost their lives in service to our country.
  4. Character education programs that will support and encourage diversity, student engagement and success for every Arlington Central School District student.

We Need Your Help!

Please help us honor Charlie's legacy by donating to The Charlie Johnson Memorial Fund. Your tax-deductible gift is greatly appreciated!

Please send your contributions to:

The Charlie Johnson Legacy Fund
c/o Arlington Education Foundation
696 Dutchess Turnpike
Poughkeepsie, NY 12603

Donation Card
Print and send in this form along with your contribution to the address listed above. (Requires Adobe Reader)


Fundraising events
Help out by participating in one of our fundraising events where proceeds will go towards The Charlie Johnson Legacy Project.


Arlington teacher Andy Arenson pays tribute to
Charlie Johnson at a gravesite memorial service.

Dear Friend,

Charlie Johnson is my personal hero.

His last words to me, after he dragged me, wounded, into a bunker on a hill in Korea called Outpost Harry, were:

"Don, there's another bunker of wounded men, and I'm going to place myself between the bunkers and the enemy and hold them off as long as I can." (June 12, 1953)

That's the last time I saw my friend alive.

Won't you please join me in sharing the lessons inspired by Charlie's good character with our youth? Your donation to The Charlie Johnson Memorial Fund is important and is much appreciated.


Don C. Dingee
Don Dingee, Sr.

Don C. Dingee photo