Friday, May 27, 2011

Army Pfc. John C. Johnson

Remember Our Heroes

Army Pfc. John C. Johnson, 28, of Phoenix, Ariz., assigned to the 1st Battalion, 32nd Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division, Fort Drum, N.Y.; died May 27, 2011 in Kandahar province, Afghanistan, of wounds sustained when insurgents attacked his unit with small arms fire.

Spc Johnson, who went by Corey to family, joined the U.S. Army in February 2010. He completed training at Fort Jackson, S.C., and Fort Benning, Ga., before being assigned to Fort Drum in July 2010. He deployed to Afghanistan in March.

Spc Johnson was an experienced hunter and tracker, who grew up fishing and hunting in Arizona's high country. He worked in a rock mine before he joined the army. He would have been 29 this month.

The last time stepmother, Anita, and her husband, John, saw Corey was around Christmas time, she said. "He'd tease me a lot. We had a good relationship," Anita said. "He'd come up behind me with that Corey smile. Then he'd lean over my shoulder and say, 'I sure do love you with all my heart.' "

As a child, Corey was a happy kid, she said. "He'd shove his little face in my side and hug me. We're having a hard time swallowing the news."

Anita, said Corey had been married once before and had a daughter before that marriage ended in divorce. A few months ago, he surprised his family by telling them he had remarried and his wife was expecting a child. Corey' wife was four months pregnant.
Jennifer Humble and Corey met online in November. A month later, they met in person. They were married the day after Valentine's Day.
A month later, Corey was deployed to Afghanistan.

When Jennifer learned her husband had been killed in action, the news sent her into labor which doctors were able to stop. Their daughter Rae Leann, is expected to be born in August.

“I’m holding up,” said Jennifer who stated she knew what she was getting into when she met Corey. “It was hard, but I always thought he would come back,” Jennifer said.

The last time she spoke with her husband was May 24. “It was hard because he was saying things were getting bad, and he wanted to be home,” she said.

She described her husband as very loving and selfless. “He was a great father and a wonderful husband,” she said. “He made me into the mother I wanted to be for my children.”

Jennifer met her husband’s family for the first time last Saturday at Dover Air Force Base in Delaware, after his remains arrived from overseas.
“I talk to them every day,” she said about her husband’s family. “We talk about Corey, we laugh and cry together."

Justin Leach, SPC Johnson's brother in law, described Corey as an outdoorsman who loved horses, horseback riding, hunting and fishing. “He was definitely a family man. He loved kids,” Leach said. “He had one of those contagious smiles; it could turn anybody’s bad day good.”

Though SPC Johnson never will know his baby girl, both families are putting together videos and photos so Rae Leann will know her father.

PFC Johnson's awards and decorations include:

Army National Defense Service Medal
Afghanistan Campaign Medal
Global War on Terrorism Service Medal
Army Service Ribbon
Overseas Service Ribbon
NATO Medal
Combat Infantryman Badge

Spc Johnson is survived by his mother, Vicki; father and stepmother, John and Anita; wife, Jennifer and stepdaughter, Marina; daughter, McKena, from previous marriage; as well as seven sisters.

Army Pfc. John C. Johnson was killed in action on 5/27/11.

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