U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Donna R. Johnson of the North Carolina Army National Guard was among 14 people killed Monday when a Taliban suicide bomber rammed a motorcycle packed with explosives into a joint U.S.-Afghan patrol in eastern Afghanistan.
Johnson, of Raeford, N.C., who was lesbian, is survived by her spouse Tracy Dice, according to a statement by Lt. Col. Robert Carver of the North Carolina National Guard.
The Associated Press reported that Johnson’s remains were flown into Dover Air Force Base Tuesday evening.
Johnson was a member of the 514th Military Police Company, which is based in Winterville, N.C.
Two other members of the 514th M.P. Company — Sgt. Jeremy F. Hardison, 23, of Browns Summit and Sgt. Thomas J. Butler IV, 25, of Leland — were killed in the attack, as were an Afghan translator working with the American troops, four local police officers and six civilians.
“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.”
Johnson joined the North Carolina National Guard in August 2006. She had previously deployed to Iraq from 2007 to 2008. Her awards and decorations included the Combat Action Badge, Iraq Campaign Medal and Army Commendation Medal.
She is a former Corrections Officer for the Harnett Correction Institution in Lillington, N.C., and prior to her deployment she was under contract as a Tactical Expert for an IED Training Range at Fort Bragg.