U.S. Department of Defense
Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Public Affairs)
IMMEDIATE RELEASE No. 1281-07
November 05, 2007
DoD Identifies Army Casualty
The Department of Defense announced today the death of a soldier who was supporting Operation Enduring Freedom.
Sergeant First Class Johnny C. Walls, 41, of Bremerton, Washington, died November 2, 2007, in Uruzgan, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when insurgents attacked his unit using small arms fire during combat operations. He was assigned to the 1st Brigade, 1st Infantry Division, Fort Riley, Kansas.
Sergeant First Class Johnny C. Walls, who served in the Army for 22 years after graduating from Bremerton High School in 1985, was killed Friday in Afghanistan.
Walls, 41, died in Uruzgan, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when insurgents attacked his unit with small-arms fire. He was a cannon crew member on a transition team. The teams serve as advisers to the Afghanistan military and police.
Walls' mother and stepfather, Patsy and Roger Johnson, reside in Port Orchard, as does his sister, Roxana Browning and his grandparents, JC and Florene Walls. A brother, Harvey, lives in Salem, Oregon His father, Jimmie C. Walls, passed away in 1979.
Walls leaves behind wife, Alene, and stepson Brent Fitts in Lawton, Oklahoma. Grown sons Alex and Bradley live in Waterstown, New York.
Walls began his Army career as a field artillery specialist, and he spent time as a gunnery sergeant, recruiter and drill instructor. He served a tour in Iraq in 2003. Duty stations included Fort Sill, Oklahoma, Fort Lewis, Washington, Fort Polk, Louisiana, Fort Stewart, Georgia, Germany and Korea. At the time of his death, he was assigned to the 1st Brigade, 1st Infantry Division at Fort Riley, Kansas.
Walls felt it was time for him to return to the Middle East because other soldiers were already on their second or third deployments, said his sister, Roxana, 43.
“He didn't feel bad about going at all,” she said. “He wanted to go. The Army was his life.”
Walls was more nervous about getting out of the Army, which he planned to do when he came back from Afghanistan, she said.
Walls didn't return to Kitsap often, but he kept in touch.
“He was here a couple years ago, thank goodness,” Roxana said. “He was just going to have his birthday (November 15) so we were all getting stuff together to send the day we found out.”
Walls was as funny as he was quiet, said his siblings. He wore bright pink bunny slippers to his high school graduation, Roxana said.
Walls was always a tough guy, said his brother Harvey, 44. Big for his age, he was a hard-hitting linebacker at Bremerton Junior High. He didn't grow much more, however, peaking at about 5-feet-8 and 172 pounds. Instead of continuing with football in high school, he worked after classes.
Growing up in Bremerton, Walls loved to fish off local docks, his siblings said. Harvey remembers the two of them playing football and flying kites at Ivy Green Cemetery off Naval Avenue. They liked to build model ships, take them down to the bay and blow them up with firecrackers.
Walls was actively involved in Bremerton's Hillcrest Assembly of God, where he sang in a quartet.
Roxana held on to a note Walls wrote to her when he was 16 years old. It says, “If I ever called you a Twinkie, it's because you're so sweet.” He said to save it, and she did.
As an adult, Walls enjoyed fishing, gardening, cooking, tinkering with his '69 Mustang and spending time with family.
A funeral service will be held at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia, November 13. A memorial service will be at Christian Life Center in Port Orchard, November 30 at 2 pm.
Walls is the second soldier with Kitsap County ties to be killed in action this year, and the seventh overall. Private First Class Charles B. Hester died May 26 in Baghdad, Iraq.
WALLS, JOHNNY C
- SFC US ARMY
- DATE OF BIRTH: 11/15/1965
- DATE OF DEATH: 11/02/2007
- BURIED AT: SECTION 60 SITE 8159
- ARLINGTON NATIONAL CEMETERY
Michael Robert Patterson was born in Arlington and is the son of a former officer of the US Army. So it was no wonder that sooner or later his interests drew him to American history and especially to American military history. Many of his articles can be found on renowned portals like the New York Times, Washingtonpost or Wikipedia.
Reviewed by: Michael Howard