Wednesday, December 30, 2009
His Star Has Turned From Blue to Gold
Bragg soldier killed in Afghanistan
A Fort Bragg paratrooper was killed the day after Christmas after his unit was attacked in southern Afghanistan, according to the Department of Defense.
Spc. Jason M. Johnston, 24, of Albion, N.Y., died in Arghandab, Afghanistan, after insurgents attacked his unit with an improvised explosive device, according to a news release.
Johnston was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 508th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division.
A memorial in his honor will be held in Afghanistan, according to a release from the 82nd Airborne Division.
"Johnston was the type of guy that did the job with little complaint, comment or fanfare, but always did the job well," said Capt. Adam Armstrong, Johnston's company commander. "He was liked by the men and always ready to go for any mission that came down. You could tell he was the type of trooper that you could count on."
Johnston also was honored in his hometown Monday evening.
Both his parents - Bradley and Jeanine Johnston - are active members of the volunteer Albion Fire Department, according to department president Stanley Farone.
Farone said the department called a special meeting to make Johnston an honorary member. They also lowered flags to half-staff at the town's firefighter memorial.
Albion is a close-knit town of roughly 5,000 people, according to Farone. Johnston's death is believed to be the first for a local serving in either Afghanistan or Iraq.
"We're a small community," Farone said of the town about 30 miles northwest of Rochester. "We're doing this for the family and for ourselves, so we can heal."
Farone said firefighters would help escort Johnston's body back into town later this week. He said nearly all of the department's 40 members had attended the ceremonies for Johnston, who participated in the department's Explorer program before he enlisted.
Johnston joined the Army as an infantryman in August 2006 and attended One Station Unit Training at Fort Benning, Ga., according to a release from the 82nd Airborne Division. He completed Basic Airborne School and was then assigned to his current unit in February 2007.
It was Johnston's second deployment to Afghanistan. He also spent a tour in the country from January 2007 to April 2008.
Johnston's awards and decorations include the Army Commendation Medal, the Army Good Conduct Medal, the Overseas Service Ribbon, the Afghanistan Campaign Medal, the NATO Medal, the Combat Infantryman Badge and the Basic Parachutist Badge.
By Drew Brooks