Local News

Oct 6, 2010 4:25 PM by Danielle Lerner

Local pastor remembers Vandenberg Airman killed in Afghanistan

Those who knew 23-year-old Airman Dan Johnson say he was the strong, silent type, who loved his family, his faith and his job in the Explosive Ordinance Disposal program, or EOD, at Vandenberg Air Force Base.

"When Dan was your friend, he was your friend," said Rev. Kevin Gotchal, pastor at South Valley Community Church in Santa Maria. "Try to imagine a quick punch in the gut, that's how it feels."

Gotchal says Johnson was killed during a rocket attack. Three other people in the vehicle were seriously injured, but Gotchal says they are expected to survive.

Johnson served a year in Iraq and then married his fiancee in Santa Maria just four months ago. He was deployed to Afghanistan about two months after that.

"Their heads are spinning, it hasn't sunk in yet is what his wife told me," said Gotchal.

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