CAMP BAHARIA, Iraq --
Marines with Combat Logistics Battalion 5, 1st Marine Logistics Group, took time to remember a fellow brother-in-arms here Dec.27.
Lance Cpl. Robert L. Johnson, 21, a motor transportation operator from Central Point, Ore., died while serving in a combat zone with his fellow Marines from Motor Transportation Company.
Marines with the company paused from their normal duties to reflect upon the life of a Marine, whom many had known well and had become close friends with during their time in the military and deployments to Iraq.
Marines from each company with CLB-5 came to pay their final respects and attend a memorial service on camp where Johnson served his last duties.
“He was a Marine who would fill your day with joy when you heard his laugh, and he was always available to talk to you,” said Sgt. Roberto Garay, team leader and MT operator, MT Co. “You always knew that he was someone dependable, and you could count on him for anything.”
Johnson joined the Marine Corps April 5, 2005, and since that time had earned the growing reputation with his company as being a leader and someone who could be depended on when times were tough. Many Marines with MT Co. knew Johnson as “Big John,” and frequently looked to him when they needed someone reliable.
“He was very knowledgeable about his job and was really good at what he did,” said Garay.
Marines with MT Co. took time to share a few last memories they had with Big John during the service. Each Marine described him as someone who could easily fill in a leadership role when needed, and someone who often made them laugh.
“From the moment I first checked into CLB-5, he was someone who stuck out to me, and I remember him asking me a million questions over and over the first day I met him,” said Cpl. Bryan J. Flanagan, assistant team leader and MT operator, MT Co. “Thinking back to memories I had with him just makes me laugh, and I can’t help but think about the guy with the nickname Big John.”
When Johnson wasn’t working, he would often find time to enjoy several leisure activities with his family and a few friends from Camp Pendleton, Calif. Johnson enjoyed hunting, fishing, motorcycle riding and bull riding, and did all these things when he found the time.
“I can’t help but laugh when I think about all the countless times where he took his family to the zoo,” said Garay. “He was really close to his family and would frequently speak with his mother every chance he got.”
Several Marines met with one another following the service and quietly spoke together about memories they had with their close friend and fellow Marine. Some laughed, some cried, some simply remembered a person who impacted their lives in a special way as they took a final glance at a photo of the MT operator.
“I have had nothing but great experiences with Johnson from the time he made his first impression upon me,” said Capt. Ryan T. Brannon, commanding officer, MT Co. “I hope you all will always remember the life he shared with us.”