By Sharna Johnson: CNJ staff writer
Rudolph Johnson II always figured at least a few of his eight children would follow in his footsteps and join the military.
He was right.
Rudolph “Rudy” Johnson III, 28, joined the Navy and serves on a submarine now dry-docked in Hawaii undergoing maintenance.
April Yolanda Johnson, 26, just completed Army basic training and is preparing for a stint as a corrections officer at Fort Leavenworth, Kan.
Joseph Johnson, 19, is an Army fuels specialist who returned to Afghanistan this week.
Mary Johnson drove her youngest son, Joseph, to the airport Monday. She said saying good-bye to her son was hard.
“He wanted to experience (the military), and as far as I’m concerned he’s doing something good. I know God’s got his back.”
The elder Johnson said he tried to instill patriotism in his children.
“I feel great about it. It’s something I always encouraged them to do,” he said.
He thinks about them, especially his youngest, who is in a conflict area.
“I don’t really worry,” said the service vet, who retired in 1990 from the Air Force as a master sergeant. “Their mother worries more than I do. You just (have to) trust in the Lord that he’ll take of them.”
Rudolph and Mary Johnson were married after he returned from serving in the Vietnam War.
Mary Johnson said when she realized her children were looking at the military, she sought her mother-in-law’s advice to see how she felt when her own son went to Vietnam.
“I asked her, How did you feel? And she said she did a lot of praying. The Lord was able to take care of him, and the Lord will take care of his kids,” Johnson said.
Mary said when “Rudy” he is out at sea, she said she speaks to him only about every six months. However, they are able to communicate sometimes by e-mail.
“I am proud of them, and I am very much concerned about them, but I know that they’re in the hands of the Lord,” she said.