U.S. ARMY CHEMICAL CORPS
Hall of Fame
Sergeant First Class Jeremiah Johnson
Born in North Carolina, Jeremiah was a loyal and devoted Soldier who loved his family, his country and his friends. Known as a hardworking man of many talents, he enjoyed riding and working on motorcycles, forging and customizing knives, smoking cigars and his pipe, and spending time outdoors with his family. Jeremiah was a small-business owner who answered the call to serve his nation in 2007.
After attending OSUT training to become a 74D CBRN Specialist at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri (the Home of the U.S. Army Chemical Corps), Johnson was stationed at Fort Hood, Texas with the 181st Chemical Company, 2nd Chemical Battalion. He also served as Chemical Operations NCO with the 22nd Chemical Battalion, Aberdeen Proving Grounds, Maryland, and in his deployment to Jordan.
In 2015, SGT Johnson deployed to Niger as a Chemical Operations NCO/site exploitation specialist with the 14th Chemical Reconnaissance Detachment (CRD) assigned to the 3rd Special Forces Group (Airborne); the United States and Niger having signed a military agreement that committed the two countries “to work together in the fight against terrorism.” Johnson would support Special Forces Operational Detachment – Alpha 3212 (ODA 3212) during Operation Juniper Shield. US Army Special Forces personnel had deployed numerous times to train Niger Armed Forces personnel to assist in the fight against terrorist operations launched from neighboring countries.
On 4 October, 2017, while SGT Johnson’s detachment was advising the Nigerien Special Reconnaissance Battalion, they conducted a mounted reconnaissance patrol through the Tillaberi Region of Niger. On their return to base, the eight vehicle convoy was ambushed by armed militants of the Islamic State of the Greater Sahara (ISGS). During the attack, SGT Johnson repeatedly exposed himself to intense enemy fire in order to provide his detachment with covering fire, and shuttling ammunition to the gunner. When the detachment was ordered to withdraw, SGT Johnson maintained his position, covering their withdrawal until he and a fellow Soldier were overtaken. Had he not remained to cover the team’s withdrawal from the kill zone, he might have survived the engagement. Instead, pinned down by the enemy his actions tragically led to his death, but it enabled his teammates to survive.
For his courageous actions, SGT Johnson was posthumously promoted to Sergeant First Class, awarded the Bronze Star with “V” Device, the Purple Heart, and the Meritorious Service Medal. In 2021, SFC Johnson was named an honorary Green Beret in recognition of his courage, service and sacrifice while fighting and serving with the Soldiers of ODA 3212, making him one of only thirteen recipients so recognized with this prestigious honor since the creation of Special Forces in 1963. Lieutenant General Francis M. Beaudette, Commanding General of the United States Army Special Operations Command, stated at the ceremony: “These men [SFC Jeremiah Johnson and SGT LaDavid Johnson] represent the very finest our nation has ever produced, stalwart in their dedication to duty, selfless in every aspect of act and of deed, valorous in the face of overwhelming odds and danger, and committed to freeing the oppressed.” Major General Patrick B. Roberson added that “Jeremiah’s actions and service were in full keeping of the Special Forces motto, ‘De Oppresso Liber’ – To Free the Oppressed.” In 2022, SFC Johnson’s Bronze Star with “V” Device was upgraded to the Silver Star, as a further testament of his heroic actions. Today we are honored to add his name to the roll of the Chemical Corps Hall of Fame, where his devotion and service will be held as an example for past, current, and future Dragon Soldiers to remember, and to emulate.