Faces From the Front for September 7, 2009 - Spc. Terranika Johnson
Current Unit: 1434th Engineer Company (Vertical)/ 101st Engineer Battalion
Current Position: Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear Specialist and Ammunition Specialist
Component: Illinois National Guard
Current Location: Iraq
Hometown: Chicago, Ill.
Spc. Terranika Johnson joined the Army to help pay for her education. But in between studying for accounting exams, Johnson discovered a passion for her service. Now on the ground in Iraq as a Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear (CBRN) Specialist and Ammunition Specialist, Johnson still plans to complete her degree, but also has her sights set on becoming a Noncommissioned Officer (NCO). She volunteered to deploy to Iraq to fill key personnel shortages within her current company.
"I volunteered because I really want to become a Noncommissioned Officer and I feel deployment experience will help me be the best NCO I can be," Johnson said. "Although I've just arrived in theater, we hit the ground running and haven't slowed down yet."
Johnson is assigned to a vertical construction company that has plumbers, electricians, carpenters, and other construction skill sets. The group is responsible for making locations more inhabitable for the Brigade Combat Teams they support across Multi National Division-Baghdad. As the CBRN Specialist, Johnson is responsible for keeping the 162 Soldiers in her company protected from chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear threats. Johnson also has responsibility for the company's ammunition and keeps the line units resourced to execute their missions.
In addition to her technical contributions, Johnson does her best to contribute to the morale of her company.
"I try really hard to make my fellow Soldiers smile and keep them motivated," said Johnson. "It's really important to me that they stay positive. The days go by faster if everyone is in a good mood."
Johnson's dedication to service is family tradition. Her father was a 21-year veteran of the Army and is currently working in Afghanistan as a Department of the Army Civilian. Johnson is slated to return from her deployment next August.