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Bridget Johnson

Retired U.S. Army Reserves Staff Sergeant; now Supervisor, Event Operation Center, OptumServe

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Bridget Johnson was deployed to Iraq with the 459th Transportation Company, an Army Reserve Unit out of Springfield, Missouri. “We had stayed in Baghdad that night and were headed to a Marine base on the other side of Fallujah,” she says.  “During my time in Iraq I was an 88M [Motor Transport Operator].

“However at that time we supplied our own convoy security. I was part of the ‘gun-truck’ team as an M249 gunner [light machine gun]. Our role was to provide security for the convoy, block interactions as we went through towns and lay down suppressive fire.”

Driving through Fallujah, her Humvee was hit by an improvised explosive device [IED].

“Everything seemed to happen in slow motion. The Humvee filled with dust. All I could hear was a tone in my ear. I could feel my body being pelted and the warmth of blood running down my face. I thought, ‘Am I going to die?’”

When asked what Veterans Day means to her, Johnson says, “I just think about Iraq and the lessons I learned while serving in the military. 

"I think about how grateful I am to live in America and the sacrifices Veterans have made and those still serving continue to make. I am no longer a member of the active military. So my mission now is to continue to serve by volunteering for Veterans organizations in my community.”

Bridget Johnson is a recipient of the Purple Heart and the Bronze Star with Valor. For the last three years, she has continued her service in her role as event operation center supervisor for LHI, part of OptumServe.

This article is an edited version of a story written by Mary Ellen Condon on Health.Mil.  The article is public domain and permission to use the edited excerpt was also granted by the Defense Health Agency.