The new boss of U.S. transportation is a bemedaled World War I veteran. Colonel John Monroe ("Steamboat") Johnson, 65, quietly moved in last week as director of the Office of Defense Transportation.* For Johnson the move was a promotion from four years' service as one of eleven ICC commissioners.

For 35 years, South Carolina-born Colonel Johnson was a successful civil engineer (bridges and drainage), for five years was Assistant Secretary of Commerce under the late, gentle "Uncle" Dan Roper.

As Assistant Secretary, Johnson notably worked to promote safety in commercial aviation. In 1937 he blocked a projected transatlantic air race to Paris,...

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