A married lesbian was among three service members killed in a suicide bomb attack in Afghanistan this week.
Army staff sergeant Donna R. Johnson was killed Monday when a man riding a motorcycle packed with explosives rammed into a group of soldiers on patrol in Khost, a city in the eastern part of Afghanistan, the Associated Press reports. The suicide bomber was identified as a member of the Taliban.
Johnson, 29, was a member of the North Carolina National Guard, as were two men killed along with her, Sgt. Jeremy F. Hardison, 23, and Sgt. Thomas J. Butler IV, 25. “The bomber struck about 9 a.m., shortly after the troops got out of their vehicles to walk through a market area in Khost,” AP reports. Also killed were “an Afghan translator working with the American troops, four local police officers and six civilians,” according to the wire service. Three other U.S. soldiers and about 60 Afghan civilians were wounded.
The American Military Partner Association noted on its Facebook page that Johnson is survived by her wife, Tracy Dice. The post continued, “In days to come, the American Military Partner Association will be sharing more of the story of Donna & Tracy and their commitment to each other and our nation. We ask for your continued thoughts, prayers, and privacy for Tracy and her family during this difficult time.”
Dice also serves in the military, according to North Carolina TV station WRAL. Rene Johnson, Donna’s sister, told WRAL the couple had been together for several years, long before “don’t ask, don’t tell” was repealed. “She is a soldier,” Rene Johnson said of her sister. “She went over there to fight, not because she was gay or because she was lesbian.”
Watch Rene Johnson’s interview below; warning, there’s a little bit of questionable language on the interviewer’s part.