News: Fallen airman memorialized at RAF Mildenhall
Story by Airman 1st Class Dillon Johnston
RAF MILDENHALL, England – Team Mildenhall members paid their final respects to a fellow airman Aug. 12, 2013, during a memorial service held at the base chapel.
Family members traveled to the United Kingdom for the memorialization of Staff Sgt. Anderson Johnson.
Johnson, known as “A.J.” by his family, wingmen and friends, was killed July 28, 2013, in a motor vehicle accident. He was an electrician in the 100th Civil Engineer Squadron and is survived by his wife, Markeah Johnson.
Members from RAF Mildenhall and RAF Lakenheath gathered in the base chapel to formally say goodbye to the 24-year-old wingman.
The service included a display of photos of Johnson in uniform. Johnson’s mother, father and siblings sat in the first pew of the chapel as Maj. Glenn Bright, 100th Air Refueling Wing deputy wing chaplain, gave the eulogy, recalling the importance of Johnson’s service commitment to the Air Force and the U.S., as well as his infectious joy and happiness.
Bright referenced the Bible verse Ecclesiastes 3:8 when speaking about Johnson.
“In the life of Staff Sgt. Anderson Johnson, he brought a lot more of the time to laugh and the time to enjoy to our lives,” said Bright.
Base leadership attended en masse to honor the fallen Team Mildenhall airman.
“The show of support through the last 15 days has really been exceptional. Not just from within our civil engineer family, but the support organizations that have propped us up and across the Air Force family,” said Lt. Col. Kevin Parker, 100th CES commander. “Staff Sgt. Anderson R. Johnson has been treated like the hero he was.”
In traditional military custom, ceremonial guardsman presented Johnson posthumously, via a proxy, with the Air Force Commendation Medal.
The memorial service was the final portion of a visit that allowed the family to meet the men and women who served with Johnson as well as see where he lived and experience the places he often spoke about.
Staff Sgt. Edy Cruz Xuarez, 100th CES electrical systems craftsman, spoke about a memory of Johnson during the service.
“[Johnson] enjoyed life to the fullest. No matter if it was something as simple as a ring tone, or something on a much grander scale. This was just the type of person A.J. was,” said Cruz Xuarez.
Johnson was interned Aug. 9, 2013, at the Fort Hood National Cemetery in Fort Hood, Texas, following a funeral service at the family’s church, Ministry of Hope, in Temple, Texas.