Operation Iraqi Freedom, Fallen Heroes, Iraq War 03/19/03

Pvt William C Johnson

William C Johnson

Oxford, North Carolina

June 12, 2007

Age Military Rank Unit/Location
22 Army Pvt

1st Squadron, 4th Cavalry Regiment, 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division

Fort Riley, Kansas

 Killed in Baghdad, Iraq, by an improvised explosive device.

Pvt William C Johnson

Family, friends remember soldier killed in Iraq

The Associated Press

Army Pvt. William C. Johnson always saw himself serving his country in some way, said his father. “He always talked about going into the military,” Billy Johnson said. “To him, it just felt like something he needed to do.”

Johnson, 22, of Oxford, N.C., was killed June 12 in Baghdad by an explosive. He was a 2003 high school graduate and was assigned to Fort Riley, Kan.

“He was always smiling, always had a kind work to say, always helpful,” said Cynthia Currin, a family friend. “This is just a tragic loss.”

Billy Johnson said his son — referred to as Chris or Christopher, his middle name — was a kindhearted individual who went out of his way to help others. “He’d do anything for you — if he liked you,” Billy Johnson said.

He was an Antioch volunteer firefighter. “Anyone that from the age of 15 decides to come down to the local fire department and join, and then after that continue service and fight for the country, I’d call them a hero every day,” said Antioch Fire Capt. Clifton Peace.

He also is survived by his wife, Megan, who is expecting their first child in the fall and a daughter, Christina.
From The Fayettevill Observer fayobserver.com 05/14/19


Fallen Heroes Memorial evokes strong reactions
The exhibit, which honors people killed in the Global War on Terror, will be on display through May 29
Rodger Mullen
Rhonda and Billy Johnson were searching Tuesday for their son's name on the Fallen Heroes Memorial flag exhibit on display at the Airborne & Special Operations Museum.

After some searching, they found it — Army Pvt. William C. Johnson, 22, killed in Iraq on June 12, 2007.

As Rhonda Johnson snapped a picture, Billy Johnson struggled to keep his composure as he explained what seeing his son's name on the memorial meant to him.

"It's something special," he said. "It makes you feel better that people seem to care."

The Fallen Heroes Memorial — about 28 feet long and 6 feet tall — is on display inside the museum through May 29.

The exhibit consists of about 7,000 reproductions of dog tags representing all the service members killed in the war on terror since Sept. 11, 2001. The tags — colored red, blue and silver — are arranged in the shape of an American flag. The 50 stars on the flag are in honor of Gold Star Families, those who have lost a family member in the line of duty.

Created by a nonprofit Richmond, Virginia, group called Veterans and Athletes United, the memorial is on tour to locations throughout the eastern United States. It has been in Fayetteville about a week.

"It's very powerful," said museum director Jim Bartlinski. "From the moment the doors opened on the exhibit, we've had people looking for tags and taking pictures."

The names on the dog tags are arranged alphabetically. There are blank tags at the end of the exhibit where more names can be added.
The tags include the name of the person, his or her rank, date of death and what operation they served in. People are welcome to take pictures or rubbings if they like.

"It's not perfect, there may not be names on there, but the organization is very open to people contacting them," Bartlinski said. "They try to be as accurate and up to date as possible."

In front of the memorial, which some people have compared to the traveling Vietnam Memorial Wall, is a sculpture by veteran Alicia Dietz of a mahogany "battlefield cross" consisting of a rifle, helmet and soldiers' boots.

Museum officials said the memorial exhibit has spurred emotional reactions.

"There was one gentleman that came in, and you could see him touching and looking for a name," said museum curator Jimmie Hallis. "When he left, he was visibly moved."

The Johnsons came from Oxford after seeing a news report about the wall.

Billy Johnson said his son was killed by an improvised explosive device.

"I didn't realize it existed until I saw it on the news and they said it was going to be here," Johnson said, wiping away a tear. "It's very hard."

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