Thursday, June 14, 2007

Chris (William C.) Johnson dies 'of wounds suffered from an improvised explosive device'

The parents of a North Carolina soldier killed in Iraq spoke to their son a day before he died, and the loss of their only child has hit the couple hard as the await the arrival of a grandchild.

Pvt. William Christopher Johnson, 22, of Oxford, spoke with his parents Monday, a day before he suffered fatal wounds when a bomb exploded in Baghdad.

"It was a regular conversation," said his father, Billy Johnson. "He said he just wanted to talk to us before he went to bed. He had a mission the following morning."

The military announced the death Wednesday, and his parents have received phone calls of condolence from across the country - even from strangers.

"Our family and friends mean well, but they can't bring him back," Billy Johnson said. "Nothing will."

The younger Johnson, who went by his middle name, was assigned to the 1st Squadron, 4th Cavalry Regiment, 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division at Fort Riley, Kan.

His wife, Megan, is living in Kansas where Johnson's unit is based. She is expecting their first child in the fall.

Johnson graduated from J.F. Webb High School in Oxford in 2003, and he joined the Army in September 2005. He joined his unit in February 2006 and was sent to Iraq with his unit in February for his first overseas deployment.

"He always talked about going into the military," Billy Johnson said. "To him, it just felt like something he needed to do."

From the Charlotte Observer