Wednesday, July 16, 2008

LaVena in proposed Oversight Committee report

The death in Iraq of PFC LaVena Johnson - ruled a suicide by the Army and vigorously disputed by her family - finds a brief mention in a proposed report recently released by the House Oversight and Governmental Reform Committee: Misleading Information from the Battlefield: The Tillman and Lynch Episodes. As the title indicates, the main subjects of the report are the death of Corporal Patrick Tillman in Afghanistan and the capture of Private Jessica Lynch in Iraq. LaVena's case is mentioned in Section IX: Other Cases Brought to the Committee's Attention, as is the suspicious death of Specialist Jesse Buryj of Canton, Ohio.

The Committee’s majority staff was also contacted by the family and friends of Private First Class LaVena Johnson, a weapons supply manager from Florissant, Missouri, who died, family members say, in a suspicious non-combat incident near Balad, Iraq, on July 19, 2005. According to news reports, the Army ruled the death a suicide, and a medical examiner concurred with this finding. But Private Johnson’s family believes Army investigators ignored physical evidence inconsistent with a finding of suicide. They also believe that the Army has additional information about the circumstances of Private Johnson’s death that it has not shared with the family.

While the names of these soldiers are not as well-known as Pat Tillman and Jessica Lynch, their sacrifices were just as great and their families are just as deserving of the truth.

It is to be hoped that this acknowledgment will be followed up by further Congressional action, and renewed and transparent investigations.

The full text of the proposed report is available for download.


Villager said...

This is a beginning. I'll share this information with my blog readers later today...

Philip Barron said...

Villager, thank you very much!

Danielle said...

This is great news!

I contacted my reps yesterday regarding Ms. Johnson's case and the petition has gathered 633 signatures so far.

Justice and truth will prevail.

Thank you so much for this valuable update.

In light and love


Philip Barron said...

Danielle, that's terrific. I knew your petition would get attention. You'll hit you mark before you know it. :-)