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Married Lesbian Servicemember Sgt. Donna Johnson Killed in Afghanistan

Married Lesbian Servicemember Sgt. Donna Johnson Killed in Afghanistan

by Karen Ocamb on October 5, 2012

The Department of Defense announced on Wednesday, Oct. 3, that three soldiers – including Sgt. Donna R. Johnson – were killed “supporting Operation Enduring Freedom” in Afghanistan. The DOD reported that they “died Oct.1, in Khost, Afghanistan, of injuries suffered when an insurgent detonated a suicide vest while they were on dismounted patrol. The soldiers were assigned to the 514th Military Police Company, 60th Troop Command, Winterville, North Carolina.”

But it wasn’t until The American Military Partner Association posted a notice on their Facebook page that Sgt. Johnson was identified as a lesbian:

“In memory of Army Staff Sgt. Donna R. Johnson who gave the ultimate sacrifice to our nation in a suicide bomber attack while on patrol in Afghanistan, on Monday, Oct. 1, 2012. Staff Sgt Johnson is survived by her wife Tracy Dice.

In days to come, the American Military Partner Association will be sharing more of the story of Donna & Tracy and their commitment to each other and our nation. We ask for your continued thoughts, prayers, and privacy for Tracy and her family during this difficult time.”

Sgt. Johnson’s body received a dignified transfer at Dover Air Force Base in Delaware on Tuesday, Oct. 2. (U.S. Air Force photo/Adrian R. Rowan)

The Army Times via AP had more information, saying the attack was from a Taliban suicide bomber:

Three members of the North Carolina Army National Guard were among 14 people killed when a Taliban suicide bomber rammed a motorcycle packed with explosives into a joint U.S.-Afghan patrol in Afghanistan.

The remains of Sgt. Donna R. Johnson, 29, of Raeford, Sgt. Jeremy F. Hardison, 23, of Browns Summit and Sgt. Thomas J. Butler IV, 25, of Leland, were flown into Dover Air Force Base Tuesday evening…..

The bomber struck about 9 a.m., shortly after the troops got out of their vehicles to walk through a market area in Khost, located in the eastern part of the country.

The others killed included an Afghan translator working with the American troops, four local police officers and six civilians.

Three more American soldiers were wounded, according to a military spokesman. About 60 Afghan civilians were also injured.

A Taliban spokesman contacted Western media to claim responsibility shortly after the attack.

“We are still grieving for these soldiers, their families and their unit members still carrying on with their mission,” said Maj. Gen. Gregory A. Lusk, adjutant general of the North Carolina National Guard. “They were the embodiment of citizen soldiers who put everything on hold to go in harm’s way for all of us. They will be remembered and sorely missed.”….

Monday’s attack followed more American casualties over the weekend that pushed the U.S. military’s death toll for the 11-year-war above 2,000.

The other two soldiers were identified as being survived by their wives and families; Johnson was identified thusly:  “Johnson, 29, joined the guard in August 2006 and was deployed to Iraq in 2007.” Another paper noted that “Johnson’s awards and decorations include the Combat Action Badge, Iraq Campaign Medal and the Army Commendation Medal.”

However, according to WRAL.com, there is an indication that Johnson’s spouse has been embraced by the family:

Rene Johnson said she and her baby sister were very close, and they last spoke on Sept.18.

“She called me from Afghanistan to wish me a happy birthday,” she said. “I didn’t get a chance to tell her that [I love her] because I’m thinking she’s coming back.”

Rene Johnson said her sister loved cars, motorcycles, Carolina Basketball and her partner of several years, who also serves in the military.

They had been together for years, before the military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy was repealed. Johnson’s family says she shouldn’t be judged by her sexual orientation.

“She is a soldier,” Rene Johnson said. “She went over there to fight, not because she was gay or lesbian.”

WRAL.com reported that Johnson came from “a long, proud tradition of military service that dates back to the Revolutionary War.”

In an interview with the local ABC affiliate, Johnson’s mother said her daughter will be buried with full military honors:

{ 6 trackbacks }

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{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

K in VA October 5, 2012 at 2:30 PM

Please post when and where the couple was wed.


Karen Ocamb October 5, 2012 at 2:41 PM

I took “married” from the American Military Partner Association’s announcement:
“Staff Sgt Johnson is survived by her wife Tracy Dice.” I tried to follow up but have been asked to hold off and be understanding right now.

AMPA says they will share Donna and Tracy’s story “in days to come.” I assume we will learn the couple’s love story then.


Jenelle Levenque October 9, 2012 at 11:56 AM

This only proves what we’ve known all along. All of the people who are in the military are their to support and defend the constitution. They died performing their duties. It is good to see the media being properly respectful.

As a Navy veteran, I would like to add my salute and tears to all who are dieing in the support of our country.


ChariD October 10, 2012 at 4:52 AM

Things like this are why we need to end DOMA now. It’s a shame that Donna’s wife Tracy won’t get the benefits due her. Thank you for your sacrifice, Sgt. Johnson.


ChiefJim October 10, 2012 at 6:25 AM

My prayers and heart go out to Tracy. Even with the abolution of DADT, we still have a distance to go for equal rights, especially with legal marriage!


Jeremy E October 11, 2012 at 5:02 PM

Rest in Peace SSG Johnson…


hooah October 16, 2012 at 3:26 AM

HOOAH Sarge you will not be forgotten. now rest and enjoy the company of your battle buddies that have gone before you. Your wife shall one day meet you in paradise. forty rounds


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