Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War
The Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War (SUVCW) elected Andrew Martin Johnson of Arlington, Virginia, Commander-in-Chief at the 117th National Encampment in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania on August 8, 1998. He is the 112th Commander-in-Chief elected by the SUVCW since its beginning in 1881 as the Sons of Veterans and the seventh Commander-in-Chief from the Maryland Department.
Brother Johnson is the third child of Clayton A Johnson of Windom, Minnesota. He was born in that city on August 19, 1935. He traces his Civil War roots through his mother, Emma P. Bennett Johnson, whose New Yorker family saw three sons serve in the war. Brother Johnson's qualifying ancestor is great great uncle George Wesley Bennett, 111th New York Volunteer Infantry who served with that regiment until twice wounded at Gettysburg.
The Commander-in-Chief is a graduate of the University of Minnesota at Minneapolis, Minnesota. He came to the Washington, DC area in July of 1960 as an Intern with the Army's Office of the Chief of Staff ("Interns" were held in higher regard then). Employed by the Army's Chief of Ordnance, Brother Johnson was mobilized for active duty during the Berlin Wall episode and spent the remainder of his working career as an Army Civilian or on Active Duty. Active duty included two tours in Viet Nam, 1967-1969. He returned to logistics financial management duties at the Army Materiel Command (AMC) in suburban Washington, DC followed by four years with the Army's V Corps Headquarters and the US Theater Army Support Command in Germany. Returning from Germany in our bicentennial year, Brother Johnson continued assignments with the AMC until retirement in 1989. Physical disabilities also brought about Colonel Johnson's retirement from the uniformed Army after 30 plus years of active and reserve duty.
Colonel Johnson's early life was spent on a small family farm in southern Minnesota. Although he was unaware of his Civil War heritage at that time, Civil War studies caught his attention at an early age. Soldiering also came naturally. When the Korean War began and the Minnesota National Guard division was activated, high schooler Johnson served with the Minnesota State Guard. He showed an early interest in hereditary organizations joining the Society of the War of 1812 in 1960 and many others since as he researched and proved his American family heritage.
Within the Maryland Department, Brother Johnson has served in all SUVCW camp and department offices before being elected to a three year term on the national Council of Administration. Since then, he has served as National Chief of Staff and both Junior and Senior Vice Commander-in-Chief. Commissioned by our uniformed branch, the Sons of Veterans Reserve (SVR), Johnson serves as the SVR Liaison to the War Office. Service in other veteran and patriotic organizations include tours as chapter and Society President in the Sons of the American Revolution; Deputy Governor General of the Sons of Colonial New England; Trustee at Our Savior Lutheran Church; Past Post Commander in the District of Columbia American Legion and American Legion National Security Commission Vice Chairman; plus Vice President of the Friends of Fort Ward, a restored Civil War fort in Alexandria, Virginia.
In addition to these heavy duties, Brother Johnson is an active member in the New Arlington-Douglas Park Civic Association, London Square Home Owners' Association, the Sovereign Military Order of Knights Templar, Veterans of Foreign Wars, 40/8, National Rifle Association, Reserve Officers Association, Military Order of World Wars, Military Order of Foreign Wars, Order of the Carabao, Hospitaller Order of St. John of Jerusalem, Secretary and Treasurer of an Arlington Lions Club and serves with the Meals on Wheels program in Arlington where he now lives.