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Army Spc. Ty J. Johnson

Died April 4, 2006 Serving During Operation Iraqi Freedom

28, of Elk Grove, Calif.; assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 320th Field Artillery Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), Fort Campbell, Ky.; killed April 4 when an improvised device detonated near his Humvee during combat operations in Kirkuk, Iraq.

101st soldier had purpose fighting the war on terrorism, says wife

By Chantal Escoto

The Leaf-Chronicle

Corinne Johnson of Fort Campbell was visiting her mother-in-law in Elk Grove, Calif., on Tuesday when she got a knock on the door.

It was a notification officer with news that Spc. Ty J. Johnson, 28, had been killed that day in Kirkuk, Iraq.

“You don’t expect to get that when you’re on vacation,” Mrs. Johnson said.

“I’d received an e-mail from him the night before. He always liked to talk to me before he’d go out on missions,” she said. “It made him feel better.

“He said he’d be back late that night. He never got to read my e-mail before he died.”

Johnson, a field artillery surveyor with the 101st Airborne Division, was killed when a roadside bomb exploded near his Humvee during a combat mission.

He was assigned to Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 2nd Battalion, 320th Field Artillery Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team.

Johnson is survived by his wife, a daughter, Kyrstin, 4, and a son, Rand, 1, all of Fort Campbell; his father, Johnny Johnson, of West Jordan, Utah, and his mother, Lisarae Johnson, of Elk Grove.

Mrs. Johnson said her husband will go down in history as someone who had a purpose in fighting the war on terror.

“He was one (of the soldiers) who carried the ballots for the first election in Iraq,” she said about his first deployment. “He was talking about how 40,000 Iraqis showed up to vote that day, and he had never seen that many people before.”

Mrs. Johnson said her husband would have gotten out of the Army in January, but his service time was extended on stop-loss. It was his second deployment to Iraq.

“All he wanted to do was come home,” she said. “His commander said he was good at his job.”

A loving man Spc. Johnson’s father said his son loved his family and his country.

“He thought he was doing some good over there. He was a wonderful, wonderful son. He loved his two little kids so much and his wife. He loved his brother and sister and loved his family,” Johnny Johnson said.

Spc. Johnson grew up in Sandy, Utah, and attended Jordan High School.

“I had sent him a little Tonka truck because he loved Hot Wheels (toy cars),” Johnny Johnson said.

“The last e-mail I got from him, he was saying he gave it to one of the kids in Iraq. He loved the kids over there.”

Spc. Johnson joined the Army on Jan. 2, 2003, and arrived at Fort Campbell on May 17, 2003.

He had earned the Expert Weapons Qualification Badge, Army Service Ribbon, National Defense Service Medal and the Global War on Terrorism medal.

A memorial service for Johnson will be held in Iraq. At Fort Campbell, he and others who died in Iraq within the last month will be honored during an Eagle Remembrance Ceremony April 12.

The death toll for the 101st is 68 since the division deployed to Iraq in September for its second rotation. A total of 139 soldiers from Fort Campbell have died since March 2003 in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Chantal Escoto covers military affairs and can be reached by telephone at 245-0216 or by e-mail at chantalescoto@theleafchronicle.com.