KIA January 23, 2007
Operation Iraqi Freedom
Assigned to the 3rd Reconnaissance Battalion, 3rd Marine Division, III Marine Expeditionary Force, Okinawa, Japan
Sgt Gary Johnston was killed January 23, 2007 while conducting combat operations in the Iraq province of Anbar. Sgt Johnston’s posthumously awarded Navy and Marine Corps Medal commendation describes the circumstances of that day veraciously, “Sgt Johnston demonstrated superior performance of his duties … when his team was pinned down by enemy fire he responded providing suppressive fire on the enemy’s position and enabling positive command control between isolated recon elements. As a result of his fearless determination and competence, his team was able to extract with no injuries. His selfless devotion to his fellow Marines was an inspiration to all and set a superb example of combat leadership. Sgt Johnston’s initiative, perseverance and total dedication to duty reflected credit upon him and were in keeping with the highest traditions of the Marine Corps.” Sgt Johnston’s deployment with 3rd Reconnaissance was going to be up in October of 2006, but he extended so he could be deployed with his Battalion to Iraq.
Gary was born in Wichita Falls, TX, but his family moved to Windthorst when he was in 6th grade. There, he excelled in the band, little league baseball, basketball, track, elite trap shooting, and high school football. Gary enlisted in the Marines one year out of high school, in May of 2004. After recon school, he was attached to the 3rd Recon Battalion in Okinawa, and then deployed with the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) touring the Pacific, which included Korea, Guam, and the Philippines. According to his friend, Marine Sgt Bryan Ernst, “Gary was first at work and last to leave, he didn’t need to be praised, he knew what he had done and that job satisfaction was all he needed. He was the hardest working individual that I have ever met. Gary with his slow mischievous grin, wit, and drawl that could only come from a very proud Texan, gave us comfort and humor at all times. I tried to expand his use of the English language by sending him a word of the day by e-mail and he would respond with a Texan word of the day.” Sgt Johnston is survived by his parents, Nubbin and Angela; two sisters, Holly and Sabrina; and nephew, Ethan.
Sgt Gary S. Johnston was 21 years old from Windthorst, Texas.
Original portrait was presented on May 29, 2010 to his parents and family during a special event at the Farmers Branch Liberty Fest Dedication Ceremony.
Portrait Sponsored by The City of Farmers Branch, Texas