Less than three months after deploying to Afghanistan with the Georgia National Guard, Spc. Issac L. Johnson, of Columbus, was killed Monday when an improvised explosive device detonated near his vehicle.
The Department of Defense announced Wednesday that Johnson, 24, was one of four soldiers killed in that one attack in Konduz, Afghanistan.
Another Georgia guardsman, Sgt. Brock Henry Chavers Sr., 25, of Statesboro, Ga., also fell in the bomb attack. Chavers was assigned to Americus’ Company D, 2nd Battalion, 121st Infantry. Johnson served with Rome’s Troop A, 1st Battalion, 108th Reconnaissance, Surveillance and Target Acquisition (RSTA) Squadron.
Georgia National Guard spokesman Sgt. First Class Roy Henry said Chavers’ unit deployed for its year-long tour between April 21 and 22. Chavers deployed on June 11, Henry added.
Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue said in a statement, “This past weekend, as hundreds of millions of Americans celebrated our nation’s independence, our brave sons and daughters were halfway around the world still protecting that freedom. We learned today of the tragic loss of Georgia Guardsmen Sgt. Brock Chavers Sr. and Spc. Isaac Johnson Jr., yesterday in Afghanistan.
“We also learned over the weekend of the loss of Marine Lance Cpl. Seth Sharp, a Northwest Georgia native serving out of Camp Lejeune in North Carolina,” Perdue continued.
“Celebrating our independence also means remembering the long line of heroes that have laid down their lives so that our country and others around the world can enjoy freedom. Mary and I encourage all Georgians to join us in praying for their families.”
Maj. Gen. William T. Nesbitt, Georgia’s Adjutant General also released a statement after learning of the guardsman’s deaths: “The deaths of Sgt. Brock Henry Chavers Sr. and Spc. Isaac Lee Johnson Jr. are a devastating loss for the nation, the state, the Georgia Guard and most of all, the families of these fine men.
“This heartbreaking news,” he added, “that two of our courageous young soldiers have been killed in Afghanistan reminds us, yet again, that the cost of freedom is high.“Sergeant Chavers and Specialist Johnson, both members of the 48th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, were special soldiers, not only to their own families, but to our Guard family. Their courage and exemplary service reflect the professionalism to which every soldier aspires.
“They gave their lives in defense of freedom. The entire Georgia National Guard family grieves with the Chavers and Johnson families at this tragic news.”
Also killed in Monday’s attack were 2nd Lt. Derwin I. Williams, 41, of Glenwood, Ill., assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 106th Cavalry Regiment, Dixon, Ill.; and Spc. Chester W. Hosford, 35, of Hastings, Minn., assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 106th Cavalry Regiment, Dixon, Ill.