Fort Bliss honors former POW during POW/MIA Recognition Day Ceremony
1 / 11 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Shoshana Johnson, former Soldier of the 507th Maintenance Company, 11th Air Defense Artillery Brigade and former POW, was the guest speaker for the 1st Armored Division and Fort Bliss National Prisoners of War/Missing in Action Recognition Day Ceremony held Sept. 16 at Memorial Circle. (Photo Credit: Sgt. 1st Class Jose Ibarra) VIEW ORIGINAL
Fort Bliss honors former POW during POW/MIA Recognition Day Ceremony
2 / 11 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Shoshana Johnson, former Soldier of the 507th Maintenance Company, 11th Air Defense Artillery Brigade and former POW, was the guest speaker for the 1st Armored Division and Fort Bliss National Prisoners of War/Missing in Action Recognition Day Ceremony held Sept. 16 at Memorial Circle. (Photo Credit: Sgt. 1st Class Jose Ibarra) VIEW ORIGINAL
Fort Bliss honors former POW during POW/MIA Recognition Day Ceremony
3 / 11 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Shoshana Johnson, former Soldier of the 507th Maintenance Company, 11th Air Defense Artillery Brigade and former POW, was the guest speaker for the 1st Armored Division and Fort Bliss National Prisoners of War/Missing in Action Recognition Day Ceremony held Sept. 16 at Memorial Circle. (Photo Credit: Sgt. 1st Class Jose Ibarra) VIEW ORIGINAL
Fort Bliss honors former POW during POW/MIA Recognition Day Ceremony
4 / 11 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Shoshana Johnson, former Soldier of the 507th Maintenance Company, 11th Air Defense Artillery Brigade and former POW, was the guest speaker for the 1st Armored Division and Fort Bliss National Prisoners of War/Missing in Action Recognition Day Ceremony held Sept. 16 at Memorial Circle. (Photo Credit: Sgt 1st Class Jose Ibarra) VIEW ORIGINAL
Fort Bliss honors former POW during POW/MIA Recognition Day Ceremony
5 / 11 Show Caption + Hide Caption – 1st Armored Division color guard post colors during the 1st Armored Division and Fort Bliss National POW/MIA Recognition Ceremony held Sept. 16 at Memorial Circle. (Photo Credit: Sgt. 1st Class Jose Ibarra) VIEW ORIGINAL
1st Armored Division color guard post colors during the 1st Armored Division and Fort Bliss National
6 / 11 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Ltc. Andrew Betson, deputy chief of staff, 1st Armored Division, provided opening remarks during the 1st Armored Division and Fort Bliss National POW/MIA Recognition Ceremony held Sept. 16 at Memorial Circle. (Photo Credit: Sgt. 1st class Jose Ibarra) VIEW ORIGINAL
Fort Bliss honors former POW during POW/MIA Recognition Day Ceremony
7 / 11 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Col. Timothy Woodruff, commander, 11th Air Defense Artillery Brigade, introduced the keynote speaker former Soldier and POW Shoshana Johnson during the 1st Armored Division and Fort Bliss National POW/MIA Recognition Ceremony held Sept. 16 at Memorial Circle. (Photo Credit: Sgt. 1st Class Jose Ibarra) VIEW ORIGINAL
Fort Bliss honors former POW during POW/MIA Recognition Day Ceremony
8 / 11 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Former prisoners of war, Soldiers, veterans, and community members came together to remember and honor prisoners of war and service members missing in action. Spc. Shoshana Johnson, retired, 11th Air Defense Artillery Brigade, 507th Maintenance Company, and former POW was the special guest speaker for the 1st Armored Division and Fort Bliss National Prisoners of War/Missing in Action Recognition Day Ceremony held Sept. 16 at Memorial Circle. (Photo Credit: Sgt. 1st Class Jose Ibarra) VIEW ORIGINAL
Fort Bliss honors former POW during POW/MIA Recognition Day Ceremony
9 / 11 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Former prisoners of war, Soldiers, veterans, and community members came together to remember and honor prisoners of war and service members missing in action. Spc. Shoshana Johnson, retired, 11th Air Defense Artillery Brigade, 507th Maintenance Company, and former POW was the special guest speaker for the 1st Armored Division and Fort Bliss National Prisoners of War/Missing in Action Recognition Day Ceremony held Sept. 16 at Memorial Circle. (Photo Credit: Sgt. 1st Class Jose Ibarra) VIEW ORIGINAL
Fort Bliss honors former POW during POW/MIA Recognition Day Ceremony
10 / 11 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Former prisoners of war, Soldiers, veterans, and community members came together to remember and honor prisoners of war and service members missing in action. Spc. Shoshana Johnson, retired, 11th Air Defense Artillery Brigade, 507th Maintenance Company, and former POW was the special guest speaker for the 1st Armored Division and Fort Bliss National Prisoners of War/Missing in Action Recognition Day Ceremony held Sept. 16 at Memorial Circle. (Photo Credit: Sgt. 1st Class Jose Ibarra) VIEW ORIGINAL
Fort Bliss honors former POW during POW/MIA Recognition Day Ceremony
11 / 11 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Soldiers from 11th Air Defense Artillery Brigade and 507th Maintenance Company with Shoshana Johnson, and Joseph Hudson, former Soldiers of the 507th Maintenance Company, 11th Air Defense Artillery Brigade and former POWs. Johnson was the special guest speaker for the 1st Armored Division and Fort Bliss National Prisoners of War/Missing in Action Recognition Day Ceremony held Sept. 16 at Memorial Circle. (Photo Credit: Sgt. 1st Class Jose Ibarra) VIEW ORIGINAL

FORT BLISS, Texas – Former prisoners of war, Soldiers, veterans and community members came together to remember and honor prisoners of war and service members missing in action during the 1st Armored Division and Fort Bliss National POW/MIA Recognition Ceremony held Sept. 16 at Memorial Circle.

Every year since 1979, the nation observes National POW/MIA Recognition Day  on the third Friday of  September to honor and not forget those who were captured in combat, those still missing in action, and their loved ones.

The ceremony began with opening remarks from Ltc. Andrew Betson, deputy chief of staff, 1st  Armored Division. Betson noted the importance of this remembrance and highlighted the fact that our nation continues to work to find those missing in action.

“The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency still tracks over 81,500 Americans who remain missing as a result of our wars, since World War II. There are those who say that names collected in the tens of thousands are merely a statistic, but as you look closer, you quickly realize that each one in those thousands represents a personal story, a hometown, and a family,” Betson said. “We are thankful that the Defense Accounting Agency maintains a world-class team solely focused on fulfilling our nation’s promise to the families of our service members.”

Betson then turned the microphone over to Col. Timothy Woodruff, commander, 11th Air Defense Artillery Brigade, to introduce the keynote speaker former Soldier and POW Shoshana Johnson.

“On March 23, during Operation Iraqi Freedom, Spc. Johnson was in a convoy that was ambushed in the city of an-Nasiriyah. Spc. Johnson received a bullet wound that went through both ankles, causing severe injuries to both legs. She and five others of the 507th Maintenance Company were captured and taken prisoner. The ambush and its aftermath made world headlines. House raids conducted by U.S. Marines in the city of Samarra, Iraq, resulted in the successful rescue of seven prisoners of war on the morning of April 13th. Later, Spc. Johnson, together with six former POWs, came back to a hero’s welcome here in the United States,” Woodruff said. “U.S. Army officials have identified Ms. Johnson as the first female prisoner of war of Operation Iraqi Freedom, and first African American female prisoner of war in U.S. war history.”

Johnson was a JROTC cadet in 1991 and an Andress High School graduate. She attended the University of Texas at El Paso and joined the U.S. Army in 1998. In February 2003, Johnson received orders to deploy to Iraq as a food service specialist with the 507th Maintenance Company, 5-52 Battalion, 11th ADA Brigade.

“I am proud of surviving. You know that day on March 23rd was something that I never expected. I mean, I’m a cook in a maintenance company. We expected gunfire, ambush, I didn’t expect to be captured, but the things that I learned through the military and through my military family gave me the fortitude to withstand it and come home,” said Johnson as she shared her story. “I don’t think I would be able to survive if I wasn’t in the company of those six gentlemen, you know. They gave me strength sometimes. They made me laugh to make sure I didn’t cry, but when you’re sitting in a cell alone, and you hear those words of encouragement from the next one, it means the world. You know, we go forward, and sometimes we think we’re alone, but we need to realize there’s others with you that understand your story. I just don’t know where I would be if it wasn’t for the six of them; they drive me crazy sometimes, but I still love them, and I got their backs no matter what.”

Johnson retired from the Army honorably December 12, 2003. Johnson’s awards and decorations include the US Army Service Ribbon, Army Commendation Ribbon, National Defense Ribbon, Good Conduct Medal, Bronze Star Medal, Purple Heart Medal, and the Prisoner of War Medal. She was awarded the Order of Manuel Amador Guerrero, the highest honor in her native country of Panama.