LUMET, MI, USA U.S. Army SSG, CO A, 1ST BN 505TH PARACHUTE INF REGT, FORT BRAGG, NC 28310 AL FALLUJAH, IRAQ 10/20/2003
Staff Sergeant Paul J. Johnson, killed Monday when Iraqi fighters ambushed his patrol in Iraq, was remembered as a top-notch soldier by his colleagues at Fort Bragg.
“From what I hear, he is the epitome of what an 82nd paratrooper should be,” Master Sergeant Pam Smith said Tuesday.
Johnson, of Calumet, Mich., was killed while heading into Fallujah to patrol about 12:30 p.m. A roadside bomb exploded near the Humvee he was riding in, Pentagon officials said. He was 29. The ambush was in the same area where an ammunition truck broke down Sunday and was attacked.
Johnson was a squad leader in Alpha Company, 1st Battalion, 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment. Johnson joined the Army in January 1993 and was assigned to the 82nd Airborne Division in February 1999. Before deploying to Iraq, he took part in Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan with the 82nd.
His awards include a bronze star and a combat infantry badge. He was a senior rated jumpmaster. Neighbors said he was a family man, and could often be seen playing with his son.
“He was an all-around good guy,” said neighbor James Parrish. Parrish said that before Johnson left for Iraq, they spoke about how dangerous it was there.
“It hits close to home because it is someone I know,” Parrish said.