David A Johnson

MAYVILLE-HORICON – 1LT David A. Johnson, U.S. Army, 24, of rural Mayville-Horicon, died Wednesday, Jan. 25, 2012, in Kandahar Province, Afghanistan, serving in the U.S. Army in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.

He was born on Nov. 28, 1987, in Beloit, the son of Andrew and Laura (Hanser) Johnson of Horicon.

He attended local schools, including Marsh Moppets in Horicon, St. John’s Lutheran School in Mayville and was a 2006 graduate of Mayville High School.  He attended Evangel University in Springfield, Mo., graduating in 2010 with a bachelor of science degree.

David completed his basic training in the U.S. Army at Fort Sill in Okla. in August 2006. He completed his AIT chaplain assistant (USACHS) in Fort Jackson, S.C., in August 2007. He was awarded an ROTC scholarship with the Bear Battalion associated with Missouri State in Springfield, Mo. He was commissioned as a 2nd lieutenant in May 2010.

In January 2011, he graduated from the infantry basic officer leadership course at Fort Benning, Georgia. He also completed combatives level 1 and 2 and the Stryker Brigade combat team leaders course. He was assigned to 5th Battalion, 20th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Stryker Brigade Combat Team at Joint Base Lewis-McChord in Tacoma, Wash.

David was promoted to 1st lieutenant before being deployed to Afghanistan in December 2011. David was a member of Boy Scout Troop 718 in Mayville and earned his Eagle Scout award in 2005. In high school, he was involved in FFA and participated in the parliamentary procedure team at national competition. He was a member of the football team, mock trial team, musical casts, and men’s choir at Mayville High School. He was also involved with the student leadership youth group program at Christian Life Fellowship.

Survivors include his parents Andrew and Laura Johnson of rural Mayville; two brothers Michael and Matthew; one sister Emily; his paternal grandmother Joan Johnson of Walworth; his maternal grandmother Yvonne Hanser of Warren, Ohio; aunts and uncles Cindy (Rev. Dr. Ken) Comstock of Lake Mills, Randy (Kris) Johnson of Rockton, Ill., Peter Johnson of Chicago, Ill., Janice Kennedy of Warren, Ohio, Cindy (Mark) Antinori of Valrico, Fla., and Denise (Darren) Winn of  Tuttle, Okla.; further survived by numerous cousins, family, and friends.

He was preceded in death by his grandfathers Ken Johnson and Harris Hanser; and his uncle Jeff Yarbrough.

Funeral arrangements are pending with Koepsell Funeral Home in Mayville.

David will be buried at Arlington National Cemetery in Washington, D.C.

An Army officer from Mayville was killed in an explosion in Afghanistan about a month after beginning his first deployment overseas, family members said Thursday.

First Lt. David Johnson told friends earlier this month that he had been placed in charge of a small firebase the military was building up in a dangerous part of Afghanistan, said his uncle Peter Johnson, a Chicago attorney and family spokesman.

“He was a very brave guy,” Peter Johnson said. “He was fun-loving, never complained. He was very likable.”

The uncle said he was proud of his nephew, but didn’t entirely understand why the military so quickly gave him command of a firebase, an encampment that provides artillery and other support to other units.

“He’d been training for a very long time (in the U.S.) and had just been in the field a very short time. He was just promoted in December at the time of the deployment, and he was the highest-ranking officer at the camp.

“I don’t know why they would put someone with that little experience in that position,” Peter Johnson said. “Leading missions, you would think they would get someone who wasn’t on his first tour.”

David Johnson and the platoon he led were “certified as mission-ready to deploy” after months of training at Joint Base Lewis-McChord in Washington state and other facilities, said base spokesman Joe Kubistek.

The 24-year-old soldier had reported in January that he felt lucky to be leading a platoon-sized base in a “very active” part of Afghanistan, his uncle said.

David Johnson wrote on a Facebook page for friends and family that he was able “to plan, lead and execute my own missions” and work with Afghan civilians and soldiers to prepare them to take over: “As the year goes on we are going to build up the base for … more to come and push the local populace to set up village run check points to increase security.”

Johnson was on foot patrol in Kandahar Province on Wednesday when he was killed by a homemade bomb, Kubistek said.

“We are very proud of our son,” his parents, Andrew and Laura Johnson of Mayville, said in a news release. “He is a hero. He first was a man of God. He has been a strong leader at Mayville High School, at Evangel University and to the men in his unit. David had no fear of adversity; he lived life to the fullest. There are no regrets. He is an American hero. We love him very much and miss him very much.” Andrew Johnson is publisher of the Dodge County Pionier in Mayville.

The community has been hit hard by news of the death, said Katie Leb, an acquaintance of David Johnson and editor of the newspaper.

“In this town the Johnson family is well known and well loved, and to lose David has saddened everyone,” Leb said. “Everyone here was tremendously proud of him and what he did for our country.”

Johnson joined the Army soon after graduating from high school in 2006 and was a leader in the ROTC during college, Leb said.

Johnson’s family on Thursday was traveling to Dover Air Force Base in Delaware, where the soldier’s remains were being sent.

Peter Johnson said the parents would return home Friday, but that the Army would not immediately release the soldier’s body.

The family released a statement attributed to retired Lt. Col. Kirby A. Hanson, who was David’s ROTC commander: “David was an outstanding cadet in every aspect of military training. … He was destined to serve in the Infantry, and I was certain he would excel. … Aside from the Army life, David was a kind, well-mannered, fun young man.”

Johnson, a member of 5th Battalion, 20th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division, was awarded the Bronze Star and Purple Heart posthumously.

Army 1st Lieutenant David A. Johnson, 24, of Mayville, Wisconsin died Jan. 25 in Kandahar province, Afghanistan, of injuries caused by an improvised explosive device while conducting a dismounted patrol. 

1st Lieutenant David A. Johnson was assigned to 5th Battalion, 20th Infantry Regimentt, 3rd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division, Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington and was serving during Operation Enduring Freedom. 

David was born on Nov. 28, 1987, in Beloit, Wis., the son of Andrew and Laura (Hanser) Johnson of Horicon. 

He attended local schools including Marsh Moppets in Horicon, St.John’s Lutheran School in Mayville and was a 2006 graduate of Mayville High School. He attended Evangel University in Springfield, Missouri, graduating in 2010 with a Bachelor of Science degree.  He served as a commander in the school’s Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) program his senior year. 

“David was a well-respected leader among our students, and he was highly regarded by his peers in the ROTC,” said John Plake, campus pastor at Evangel. 

“He also served as an assistant director of our CROSSwalk campus ministries, in a role that helped many students find ways to serve others in our community, in the love of Christ,” said Plake. 

David was a member of Boy Scout Troop 718 in Mayville and earned his Eagle Scout Award in 2005. 

In high school, he was involved in FFA and participated in the Parliamentary Procedure Team at National Competition. He was a member of the football team, Mock Trial team, musicals, and men’s choir at Mayville High School. He was also very involved with the student leadership youth group program at Christian Life Fellowship. 

Alex Schauer, a 2010 graduate, worked with Johnson at CROSSwalk and remembered him as an adventurer and a joker. She’d teased him that it seemed he never slept because of all his activities. 

“If he only lived 24 years, then he lived every moment,” Schauer said. 

Part of a letter from Lt. Col. (Ret) Kirby A. Hanson, who was David’s ROTC Commander in Springfield. 

“David was an outstanding cadet in every aspect of military training…He was destined to serve in the Infantry and I was certain he would excel…Aside from the Army life, David was a kind, well mannered, fun young man.” 

David was remembered by family as a man of faith; known for his big smile; someone who made friends easily; a guy who knew how to have fun; being always busy; being the just-in-time-guy because he was, “never late and never early;” and, a man of God. 

Survivors include his parents, Andrew and Laura Johnson of Horicon; two brothers, Michael and Matthew; one sister, Emily; his paternal grandmother, Joan Johnson of Walworth, Wis.; his maternal grandmother, Yvonne Hanser of Warren, Ohio; aunts and uncles, Cindy (Rev. Dr. Ken) Comstock of Lake Mills, Wis., Randy (Kris) Johnson of Rockton, Ill., Peter Johnson of Chicago, Ill., Janice Kennedy of Warren, Ohio, Cindy (Mark) Antinori of Valrico, Fla., and Denise (Darren) Winn of Tuttle, Okla.; further survived by numerous cousins, family, and friends. 

He was preceded in death by his grandfathers, Ken Johnson and Harris Hanser; and his uncle, Jeff Yarbrough. 

Help Us Honor Their Memory
Mayville
01/25/2012
Age: 24
Incident Location: Kandahar province, Afghanistan
Branch: Army
Rank: 1st Lt.
Unit: 5th Battalion, 20th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division
Units Base: Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington