Local News

Raeford sergeant laid to rest

Posted October 13, 2012

Neighbors and strangers lined the streets in Raeford to pay respects to Sgt. Donna Johnson, killed in Afghanistan.

— Two weeks after she was killed in the line of duty, Sergeant Donna Johnson of the North Carolina National Guard was laid to rest in her hometown of Raeford Saturday. johnson Raeford honors fallen soldier

Hers was the third North Carolina funeral to stem from a single attack Oct. 1 in Khost, Afghanistan. Johnson and  two other members of the Winterville-based 514th Military Police Company died when a Taliban suicide bomber rammed a motorcycle packed with explosives into a joint U.S.-Afghan patrol.

Sgt. Jeremy Hardison of Browns Summit was buried Thursday. Sgt. Thomas Butler IV of Leland was buried Friday

Johnson, 29, joined the National Guard in 2006. On Saturday, her family, friends, neighbors and dozens of members of the Patriot Guard, an organization of motorcyclists who attend funerals to honor fallen U.S. military personnel, lined the streets of Raeford in her honor.

"The sense of pride for our fellow Americans and Sgt. Johnson is overwhelming," said Sabrina Valentine, a member of the Patriot Guard.

Valentine and many others who didn't know Sgt. Johnson were on hand Saturday because they felt a sense of duty to attend her funeral, she said.

Sgt Johnson was a highly decorated soldier. She was a military police officer and had worked in bomb training at Fort Bragg and served in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Her family said in a statement they want to remember Johnson "as a mission focused professional who gave her life serving her country and performing a job that she loved and excelled at."

She "was a reserved and private person who had a close group of friends" and four dogs. She is survived by her spouse, Tracy Dice.

8 Comments

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  • BEACH Oct 16, 10:25 a.m.

    RIP DONNA, THANK you for your Service, Prayers for your family. I have been there, know what it feels like. A loss u never get over.
    Thanks to the Patriot Guards for all the work they do for these soldiers

  • rossj Oct 16, 10:00 a.m.

    RIP Donna! I am so proud to be from Raeford! The Westboro people did show up, but Hoke County showed up more and her family was shielded from them!

  • josephlawrence43 Oct 15, 4:20 p.m.

    Semper Fi young Lady.

  • Coolbreeze Oct 15, 4:14 p.m.

    A true hero!!

  • Da Toy Maker Oct 15, 4:10 p.m.

    R.I.P. Sarg!

    Also, I'm glad the Westboro people did not show up.

  • Sherlock Oct 15, 1:31 p.m.

    thank you for your service.

  • COLT45 Oct 15, 11:55 a.m.

    Disabled Veteran: AMEN!

  • Disabled Veteran Oct 15, 10:30 a.m.

    R.I.P young Soldier. I thank you for your courage and service to this country. As long as I breathe just know that your sacrifice was not in vain and will never be forgotten! Hooah