U.S. Army Spc. Isaac Lee “Chip” Johnson was remembered Friday at his Columbus funeral as a loyal soldier “who epitomizes the strength of our nation.”
Johnson, 24, was killed July 6 when an improvised explosive device detonated near his vehicle in Konduz, Afghanistan. Johnson, a Columbus native and 2003 Spencer High graduate, was a Georgia National Guardsman with Troop A, 1st Battalion, 108th Reconnaissance, Surveillance and Target Acquisition Squadron in Rome, Ga. He was one of four soldiers to die in the attack.
Johnson was posthumously presented with the Bronze Star and Purple Heart as more than 400 mourners gathered at the Cusseta Church of Christ for the service.
“This young man has rendered great service to our country,” minister Elliott Glasgow said. “It is better to die for something than to live for nothing. Some people in here are living for nothing — maybe you need to go see the recruiter on Monday.”
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Brig. Gen. Maria Britt, commanding general of the Georgia Army National Guard, praised Johnson for his service and sacrifice. She described him as “upbeat, fun, outgoing and a patriot.”
“This still has purpose to all of us — especially his brothers and sisters in arms,” Britt said.
Glasgow said looking for reasons for such a tragedy is a difficult task.
“Why did this happen?” Glasgow asked. “I cannot give you an answer. Some day you will understand that even this was a blessing in disguise.”
There was a large contingent of active duty and retired military personnel at the service. Five of Johnson’s cousins, all in the service, recited the Soldiers Creed at the end.
Johnson was buried at Fort Mitchell National Cemetery in Fort Mitchell, Ala.