The return of Spec. Shoshana Johnson
Spec. Shoshana Johnson, freed by the Iraqis Sunday, April 13, will be welcomed back to her home town, El Paso, Texas. There was a meeting to plan the welcoming Thursday.
Her father, Claude Johnson, recently discussed speaking with her by phone for the first time since she rejoined American forces.
Although there's no official word on when she will come home, Johnson says it was wonderful to hear her voice on Sunday when they got the first phone call from her.
"It was great hearing from her. She got to speak to her daughter. . .and i think that was just fantastic..she started crying and then she ended up laughing, you know because she got to speak to everybody."
Spec. Johnson has described her ordeal. She says she was well-treated after the Iraqis realized she was female.
There are varying stories about the release of Johnson and six other soldiers, though it is agreed no shots were fired.
There were conflicting reports on how the Marines learned of the prisoners' whereabouts; by some accounts their location was revealed by Iraqi soldiers whose leaders had abandoned them. Some Marines, though, said townspeople tipped them to the house.
And now Johnson says she has one goal, to be at her own home in El Paso by May 20th - her daughter Janelle's 3rd birthday.
At least one newspaper columnist is asking the same question I have about the difference between the attention paid Johnson and that paid Pfc. Jessica Lynch. Lorenzo E. Martin says:
African Americans constituting over 21 percent of the military, according to the military's own records, with African American women near 40 percent, have become invisible in the mainstream (White dominated) press and electronic media.
Who knows about Shoshana Johnson, who was captured the same day with Lynch and others of the 507th Maintenance Co. stationed out of Fort Bliss?
His is one of the few articles or columns I've read in which Johnson emerges as a person.
Johnson, 30, grew up an army brat with her two sisters, spending most of their lives on army installations in the United States and abroad.
Graduating from El Paso High School where she participated in the school's R O.T.C. program, the popular "Shana," as she was called, joined the military in 1998 after two years attending the University of Texas at El Paso. She thought the army would serve as a good foundation in her pursuit of a career in the culinary arts.
Coming from a military family where her father, as well as several uncles and an aunt, served in the armed forces, it seemed only natural for her to follow her younger sister, Nikki, (an army captain). Johnson enlisted in 2002. She was assigned to the 507th Maintenance Co. at Fort Bliss, Texas.
I find the marginalization of Spec. Johnson by most media striking when compared to the idolization of Pfc. Lynch. This is one of those situations in which the difference race makes is glaring. For example, Spec. Johnson did fight back when ambushed by Iraqis and was shot in both feet. A story about Pfc. Lynch having performed heroically while under fire and suffering severe wounds was made up. (She was injured when the vehicle she was riding in overturned.) I have located 97 news articles containing the words "Shoshana Johnson" and "hero." A similar search nets 925 such references to Lynch. Furthermore, if anyone is offering Johnson a car or a movie deal it seems to be a secret. Welcome, home, Shoshana, indeed.