Iraq blast kills Yakima reservist
A major with the Army Reserves, Alan R. Johnson was scheduled to return home to Yakima in about 90 days.
He was killed Friday after a bomb detonated near his Humvee in the Iraqi city of Muqdadiyah, near the Iranian border.
Friends, co-workers and family recall Major Johnson as an upbeat man devoted to his family and his job as a shift sergeant with the Yakima County Corrections Department.
Major Johnson, 44, leaves behind his wife, Victoria, and 19-year-old daughter, Megan, both of Yakima.
Neither wanted to be interviewed Monday, but the mother and daughter issued a statement saying that Major Johnson "lived for God, his family and his country. As a husband he was a leader, supporter, protector, and best friend — he was a knight in shining armor. As a father he mirrored the image of God in his ability to love unconditionally."
It's expected that he will be buried in Arlington National Cemetery, but a public memorial service is planned for 2 p.m. Saturday at the Yakima Armory, 2501 Airport Lane.
Major Johnson was born and raised in North Dakota and joined the military after graduating from high school, said his mother, Mary Ann Hansen of Sanborn, N.D.
She said she last talked to her son in a brief conversation on Christmas Day, just enough time to say "I love you" and "Merry Christmas."
"It was short and sweet," she said. "He only had half an hour to call everybody."
Major Johnson and his family lived in Yakima for about the past 20 years, according to Mike Williams, his supervisor at the county Corrections Department.
When he wasn't serving in the Reserves, Major Johnson worked as a shift sergeant and had previously been the department's training coordinator, Williams said.
"Firearms, defensive tactics, report writing ... he loved to teach. That was his passion," Williams said.
Corrections Director Steve Robertson said Major Johnson was upbeat and intense, a man devoted to his job and his family.
Major Johnson joined the North Dakota Army National Guard in 1980 and remained active with the Guard until transferring in 2003 to the Army Reserves' 70th Regional Readiness Command at Fort Lawton in Seattle.
Late in 2005 he was reassigned to the Reserves' 402nd Civil Affairs Battalion, a unit of the Army's Civil Affairs and Psychological Operations Command, which was mobilized to Iraq in April 2006.
He also was a reservist with the Yakima County Sheriff's Office from 1992 to 1996.
He is also survived by his father, Wilfred Johnson of Montpelier, N.D.; his brothers, Wayne Johnson of Brookville, Md., Bryan Johnson of Bozeman, Mont., and Jeremy Hansen of Eckelson, N.D.; and his sisters, Marilyn Waddington of Harrah and Susan Roemmich of Spiritwood, N.D.
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