FORT LEONARD WOOD, Mo. -- Chemical Reconnaissance Detachment teams, friends and Families came together to honor Sgt. 1st Class Jeremiah “JW” Johnson by conducting an Airborne Operation during their Chemical, Biological, Radiological, and Nuclear (CBRN) Specialists regimental week at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri, June 26, 2023.
Johnson was attached to 14th CRD, 3rd Special Forces Group (Airborne) where he deployed to Niger, West Africa. On Oct. 4, 2017, Johnson was conducting a mounted reconnaissance patrol with his team. As they were returning to base, the team were ambushed by armed militants of the Islamic State of the Greater Sahara. When the detachment ordered a withdraw, Johnson continued laying suppressive fire to protect his fellow Soldiers. His heroic actions helped his team survive the encounter, but in doing so, it led to his death.
The Detachment Sergeant of 82nd CRD, 10th SFG(A), a close friend and colleague of Johnson said “Johnson is the only CRD team member to be killed in combat.”
For his bravery and actions in West Africa, Johnson was posthumously promoted to Sergeant First Class, awarded a Silver Star, a Purple Heart and the Meritorious Service Medal.
In June 2017, all Chemical, Biological, Radiological, and Nuclear (CBRN) Specialists from across the United States Army Special Operations Command came together at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri during CBRN Regimental Week; but this time the event commenced with an airborne jump. This would be Johnson’s last jump before his death later that year.
“This is the second year that the 82nd CRD team has officially conducted the ‘JW’ Johnson Memorial Jump,” said the Detachment Sergeant.
Johnson’s name has been placed in the Chemical Corps Hall of Fame. He has also been named an honorary Green Beret for his courage and sacrifice during the fight alongside his team.
“Jeremiah Johnson was a wild man, he was also a family man too,” said the Detachment Sergeant. “He loved spending time with his family; he was a very hard-working man and a go getter type of guy.”