Johnson, the AfroAmerica Network Black Woman of the Year 2003.
AfroAmerica Network, December
Shoshana Johnson joined the U.S. Army in
1998. As a specialist with the 507th
Maintenance Company at Fort Bliss, the 30-year-old single mother and 1991
Andress High School graduate would be unlikely to face a life-threatening
changed when on 23 March 2003, the U.S. Army's
Claude Johnson, the father of Shoshanna
and a 20-year army veteran, said that
as a prisoner of war, his daughter should "go in there, behave yourself
and get away."
Other family members described her as kind, popular and outgoing. "Shoshana is a strong individual,"
her sister, Nikki Johnson, 28, of Fort Lee, Va., said when she learned of the
capture from her Northeast El Paso home .
Shoshana Johnson has had close calls before,
including near-car accidents, but "there's always a little angel
following her around" who helps her out of difficult situations, Nikki
Black Caucus decided to honor Johnson, believed to be the first
African American woman to be taken as a prisoner of war. Milney of the Black
Caucus said. "They (the caucus)
felt she had earned it. She has shown bravery and patriotism while serving
her country." "Honoring you is like honoring ourselves," Rep.
Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas) said.
"Miss Johnson's dedication to her job
represents the highest ideals of patriotism and military service,"
Johnson was one of seven soldiers captured on
March 23 during an ambush, when the 507th Maintenance Ordinance Co. that
supported the 3rd Infantry took the
wrong turn. Three women soldiers were part of that ill-fated unit,
Army Pfc. Lori Ann Piestewa, Pfc. Jessica Lynch and Johnson. Reportedly,
Piestewa died from injuries she sustained when the vehicle she was driving crashed
during the ambush. Piestewa was the first Native American woman ever killed
Johnson was shot twice and endured weeks of
harsh captivity. She was one of those paraded before Iraqi cameras, with
films shown around the world. Her face, wan with fear, was burned into the
memories of people everywhere. Johnson emerged with her fellow soldiers,
hobbling to the rescue helicopter, suffering from bullet wounds in her
ankles. She virtually disappeared after her return to the United States
At its tribute, the Black Caucus thanked
Johnson for "displaying bravery and heroism during Operation Iraqi
Freedom." They gave her the plaque and the flag.
Her family glowed with pride or wept quietly.
Shoshana Johnson, was discharged from the Army on December 12,
2003 after serving 5 years. "Although I am now leaving the Army, I in no
way regret my time in the military," Johnson said in a statement.
"To my fallen comrades and their
families, my utmost respect, and gratitude for their sacrifices,"
Johnson said. "Their memory has made me a better person and they will
not be forgotten."
Shoshana Johnson was awarded the Bronze Star,
Purple Heart, and the Prisoner of War Medal for her service in Iraq.
ŠAfroAmerica Network, December 2003.
visit us at: http://www.afroamerica.net
Network is owned by AroniSoft LLC, a Delaware company.
read the copyright and privacy notice at http://www.afroamerica.net/aronisoft.html