The oldest of three brothers and three sisters, Otto Vernon Johnson was born to Swedish immigrants, on August 27, 1925.
Vern grew up in Manitoba and joined the army as a trooper at the age of 17 in 1942. He served on the home front as a radio operator in Armoured cars and later transferred to the Air Force in 1943. He certified on aerial and was commissioned in November of 1944 as a Pilot Officer and sent to Pre-Flight School in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.
After the war Vern worked with the CPR as an Agent Operator (Telegraph). He rejoined the military in March of 1956 as a Lieutenant and served in Search and Rescue in Manitoba and Labrador. He retired as Captain in 1974.