Marion Brothers

Marion Brothers

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Quest into the Death of Pfc. LaVena Johnson

Dear Congress:

Pfc. LaVena Johnson died for her country in Iraq... eight days shy of her twentieth birthday. But she did not die like the faithful soldier she was. Neither does it appear that she died of suicide like the U. S. Army claims.

On Thursday, July 31 at 10:00 am, the Subcommittee on National Security and Foreign Affairs will conduct an oversight hearing into the current status of sexual response and prevention within the U.S. military. The hearing entitled, “Oversight Hearing on Sexual Assault in the Military”, will feature testimony from two individuals who have experienced difficulties in how the U.S. military responded to incidents of rape they or a family member personally experienced while living on military installations.

We have petitioned Chairman Henry Waxman to reopen the case of Pfc. LaVena Johnson. We ask for your help and assistance.

File Information:

From Shakespear Sister Blog:

Once upon a time lived a young woman from a St. Louis suburb. She was an honor roll student, she played the violin, she donated blood and volunteered for American Heart Association walks. She elected to put off college for a while and joined the Army once out of school. At Fort Campbell, KY, she was assigned as a weapons supply manager to the 129th Corps Support Battalion.

She was LaVena Johnson, private first class, and she died near Balad, Iraq, on July 19, 2005, just eight days shy of her twentieth birthday. She was the first woman soldier from Missouri to die while serving in Iraq or Afghanistan.

An Army representative initially told LaVena's father, Dr. John Johnson, that his daughter died of "died of self-inflicted, non-combat injuries," but initially added that it was not a suicide. The subsequent Army investigation reversed this finding and declared LaVena's death a suicide, a finding refuted by the soldier's family. In an article in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Dr. Johnson pointed to indications that his daughter had endured a physical struggle before she died - two loose front teeth, a "busted lip" that had to be reconstructed by the funeral home - suggesting that "someone might have punched her in the mouth."

KMOV Channel 4 News Report Findings into the Death of Pfc. Johnson

When the Private Johnson’s parents received her body, “they noticed signs that she had been beaten. That was when they started asking questions… After two years of being denied answers and hearing explanations that made no sense, the Johnsons received a CD-ROM from someone on the inside. It contained pictures of the crime scene where LaVena died and an autopsy showing that she had suffered bruises, abrasions, a dislocated shoulder, broken teeth, and some type of sexual assault. Her body was partially burned; she had been doused in a flammable liquid, and someone had set her body on fire. A corrosive chemical had been poured in her genital area, perhaps to cover up evidence of rape.

Still the Army sticks by their story. They refuse to explain the overwhelming physical evidence that LaVena was raped and murdered and continue to claim that she killed herself.

Inquiries into Nowhere

Army officials refuse to reexamine the LaVena Johnson case, declaring the matter closed. But they had also declared the case of Pat Tillman closed. They altered the fact that he had been killed by “friendly fire”, just one instance in a series of military cover-ups, at the time.

Now military officials tell one story and the mortician tells another. Who am I to believe?

From henceforth: I would advise women soldiers to defend themselves against wolves in patriotic sheep clothing. And, to African-Americans, avoid the U.S. Army altogether.


  1. This story is so sad. I wonder how the military can continue to keep allowing women to be victimised in this manner. What ultimate purpose does it serve?

  2. Eddie,

    It is a shame to hear a black man suggest that WE defend about black men taking up the duty to protect black women and children....??

    White men will hang a brotha to avenge a white woman...but a sista gets raped and what do brothas say???

    Defend yourselves....

    That was not what you meant I am sure...but it sure didn't sound like you were issuing a call to black men to stand up and protect black women.

    Peace, blessings and DUNAMIS!

  3. How much plainer can I make it? When a sister is serving in the military, in a war zone, in some far off country, and nobody else is around to protect her from the wolves in her own platoon. SHOOT TO KILL when they act threatening towards you.

  4. This Is Sad, Alot Of Soliders Have Been Killed By Their Fellow Soliders. My Brother-Inlaw Is Victim. He Was Killed UnExpectedly And They Closed The Case. And I Think justice Needs To Come.