Operation Iraqi Freedom, Fallen Heroes, Iraq War 03/19/03

Christoffer P Johnson

Clarksville, Tennessee

February 17, 2011

Age Military Rank Unit/Location
20 Air Force A1C

423rd Security Forces Squadron

Royal Air Force Alconbury, England

 Died due to a non-combat related incident in Southwest Asia.

United States Airman 1st Class Christoffer P. Johnson
March 9, 2011 at 9:43pm
Born the day after Fourth of July, 20-year-old Airman 1st Class Christoffer P. Johnson of Clarksville, Tennessee, gave his life while serving his country. 

Airman Johnson, or "Chris" as he was known, died in a vehicle wreck on Feb. 17 while on security patrol at the Al Udeid Air Base in Qatar. He had been deployed there for only three weeks, out of a six-month rotation. 

He was serving as an Installation Entry Controller with the 423rd Security Forces Squadron, providing security at Royal Air Force Upwood, RAF Alconbury, and RAF Molesworth, but had volunteered to take an assignment as a member of the 379th Expeditionary Security Forces Squadron in support of Operation New Dawn. 

Chris is a 2008 graduate of Clarksville High School in Clarksville, Tennessee, and is survived by his parents, Marcus and Julee Johnson, a sister, Katelyn, and brother, Seth. 


People who knew him say he was a good person and a good friend. 

"Bottom line - Chris was a good person," said his commander, Lt. Col. Leonard Rose at a March 4th memorial service. "He always wanted to do his best and help people. He died doing what he wanted and volunteered to do."

Also at the memorial, Airman 1st Class Ezekiel Greene recalled the time he needed a ride to the airport after his transportation plans had fallen through. He said not only did Airman Johnson immediately offer him a ride, but he refused to take any money for gas.

"It's just the kind of person he was - a kind and giving friend," Airman Greene said.

"He was always the person I went to when I needed to get something off my chest," said Airman Nicolas Carter, another one of Johnson's close friends from the squadron. "It prides me to have been a wingman, friend, and brother." 

“I am stationed at RAF Alconbury and saw Chris almost daily,” wrote Cody Lane from Sioux City, Iowa on legacy.com. “I always viewed him as a very quiet underspoken guy, but he didn't need to say much because the things he did for people when they needed him most spoke loudly enough.” 

At a Feb. 21 memorial service with the 379th ESFS, some service members stood when seats became filled in the auditorium.

379th ESFS commander Lt. Col. Marion Moxley spoke to the crowd about Airman Johnson's tireless contributions.

"The time we Defenders spent with Chris will be cherished," Col. Moxley said. "Chris was a true patriot and will be missed by his fellow Defenders and fellow Airmen."

"Chris loved being a Defender and making the difference. Whether posted as a mobile patrol on the flight line, controlling entry to priority assets, or as he was doing on the day of his tragic death, providing an internal response protecting the combined forces special operations command compound, Chris was out there."

"Vigilant and prepared to respond at a moment's notice to ensure mission accomplishment and other people's safety and security," Col. Moxley continued. "Quite simply, Chris was getting the mission done. Keeping us secure. Doing what Defenders do."

Col. Moxely also added that Chris played as hard as he worked -- embracing the fun in life.

"Chris' impact didn't stop at work," Col. Moxley said. "He established himself as a terrific friend, peer, subordinate and leader. Chris was liked by those that knew him. They also saw his love for life often expressed in his enthusiasm for games. When they could break him away from playing 'Halo,' I understand he was the guy to challenge at the Ping Pong table. His enthusiasm was infectious, as he approached everything he faced as an adventure." 

The 379th Air Expeditionary Wing’s vice commander, Col. Paul W. Tibbets IV, said that Chris knew that he was part of something bigger than himself.

"It showed every time he put on his uniform," Tibbets said. "He loved life, and would want nothing other from us than to celebrate his life in these difficult times. Let us never forget how he lived. Let us never forget the times of laughter, the times we cried together, the times we had with him. Many of us are changed simply because we knew him." 

"Chris had courage to serve his country and defend freedom," Col. Tibbets added. "He understood this possession was fleeting and he had a part to keep it alive." 

According to Clarksville Now, the Clarksville Kiwanis club decided to collect money to donate to charity in honor of Johnson. In a thank you letter, Chris' father Marcus, who is a retired Army major, wrote that the family was doing well under the circumstances. 

“We are a strong faith based family, we know that Christoffer is more than taken care of,” he wrote. “As my daughter posted on her facebook page, her brother is ‘in heaven chillin’ with Jesus.”

Rest in peace, Airman 1st Class Christoffer Johnson. 

--KW

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