SCHILLER PARK, IL, US
U.S. Air Force
SRA,30TH CIVIL ENGINEER SQD, VANDENBERG AFB, CA
10/05/2010, NEAR HENDU KALACHEN, AFGHANISTAN
According to Kristen Johnson, Proud Military Widow of SRA Daniel James Johnson: My husband, Daniel James Johnson, was 23 years old when he was killed when an IED detonated in his vicinity. He was an Explosive Ordnance Disposal Technician for the United States Air Force.
“You work on an IED or something like that, and you know there’s hostile forces around you, you must be crazy to do what you do,” SRA Johnson explained. “I never really thought about it. It just seemed like a cool job. Daniel said he chose the career field when he enlisted three years ago, noting that his dream job involved playing with robots and blowing stuff up for a living. “I enjoy it,” he said. “It’s fun. I don’t really think about the bad stuff.”
SRA Johnson grew up in Minnesota and Wisconsin and was a graduate of Monona Grove High School in Wisconsin. He moved to Schiller Park to live with his grandmother where he attended Triton College in River Grove, Illinois. He excelled academically in his EMT course, pursuing his lifelong dream of becoming a paramedic. A former teacher Denise Peterson remembers, “This young man was a truly exceptional person. He’s someone who exemplified maturity, kindness [and] responsibility. He was a very fun-loving student. So he was truly someone you remember, and remember well as a special young man.”
Dan enlisted in the Air Force in November 2006. He was assigned to Vandenberg’s 30th Civil Engineer Squadron Explosive Ordnance Disposal in October 2007. Dan was known to his friends and fellow EOD technicians as a fun-loving man with a tender and compassionate heart. He also volunteered as a big brother with Big Brothers Big Sisters.
SRA Johnson had met Kristen Harlow of Santa Maria, who became the love of his life. Dan and Kristen were married in June 2010 and he was looking forward to spending the rest of his life with his wife Kristin, a cancer survivor.
SRA Johnson called EOD his dream job, and in that role safeguarded countless lives, according to COL. Richard Boltz, commander of the 30th Space Wing, Vandenberg Air Force Base, California. “He died doing a job he enjoyed while serving a nation he loved. He’s a true patriot and hero and that’s how he’ll be remembered.”
“Not for fame or reward, not lured by ambition or goaded by necessity, but in simple obedience to duty.” Inscription at Arlington Cemetery
Daniel’s portrait is also on Poster 15