SPC Joseph Johnson, 24, of Flint, Michigan

PFC Gunnar Hotchkin, 31, of Naperville, Illinois


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE JUNE 21, 2010 /// RELEASE NO. 10226

FORT BRAGG SOLDIERS DIE IN SUPPORT OF OPERATION ENDURING FREEDOM

FORT BRAGG, N.C. – The Department of Defense announced today the deaths of two Soldiers who were supporting Operation Enduring Freedom.

Specialist Joseph Johnson, 24, of Flint, Mich., and Pfc. Gunnar Hotchkin, 31, of Naperville, Ill., died June 16 in Isa Khan, Kunduz Province, Afghanistan, of wounds sustained when their vehicle was attacked by an improvised explosive device.

Johnson and Hotchkin were assigned to the 161st Engineer Support Company, 27th Engineer Battalion (Combat) (Airborne), 20th Engineer Brigade (Airborne), Fort Bragg, N.C. Johnson enlisted in the Army in November 2006, where he served with Company B, 27th Eng. Bn. (Combat) (Airborne), as an engineer equipment operator. In 2008, Johnson was assigned to the 161st Eng. Spt. Co., 27th Eng. Bn. (Combat) (Airborne). When his unit was alerted for deployment, Johnson became a team leader for route clearance operations. He deployed in December 2009. Johnson’s military schools include Basic Combat Training, Advanced Individual Training and the Basic Airborne Course.

“Specialist Johnson was a charismatic, natural leader with a quick wit and smile” said Capt. Andy Glenn, company commander for the 161st Eng. Spt. Co. “He always fought to be a dismount on patrols, to be one of the Soldiers that actually looked for the IEDs. Specialist Johnson took time everyday to help teach and train others. He always placed the mission and his fellow Soldiers ahead of himself.” Johnson’s awards include the Bronze Star Medal, Purple Heart, Army Achievement Medal, Army Good Conduct Medal, Afghanistan Campaign Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Army Service Ribbon, Overseas Service Ribbon, NATO Medal, Combat Action Badge and Driver Badge with Driver Wheeled Vehicles.

Johnson is survived by his wife and his parents. findagrave.com memorial

Hotchkin enlisted in the Army in March 2009. His first assignment was with the 161st Eng. Spt. Co., in October 2009. He served as an engineer equipment operator and gunner during route clearance operations. He also deployed in December 2009. This was the Soldier’s first deployment.
Hotchkin’s military schools include Basic Combat Training, Advanced Individual Training and the Basic Airborne Course.

“Private First Class Hotchkin was truly a rising star in the company,” said Glenn. “He was mature and very hard working. “Pfc. Hotchkin always went to great lengths to help his team and squad at every turn.”

Hotchkin’s awards include the Bronze Star Medal, Purple Heart, Army Good Conduct Medal, Afghanistan Campaign Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Army Service Ribbon, Overseas Service Ribbon, NATO Medal, Combat Action Badge, and Driver Badge with Driver Wheeled Vehicles.

Hotchkin is survived by his wife and their three children. findagrave.com memorial

Our hearts and prayers go out to the families of these fallen heroes.