Black Book Talk on 03/04/10
The guest is Shoshana Johnson, author of "I'm Still Standing: From Captive U.S. Soldier to Free Citizen--My Journey Home."
In March of 2003 world headlines were made when a U.S. army convoy was attacked in the city of An-Nasiriyah en route to Baghdad. Several soldiers were killed and others were taken prisoner.
Jessica Lynch became the face and name associated with this tragedy, but another female soldier, Shoshana Johnson, was also wounded and captured in the ambush. Shoshana became the first black female prisoner of war in United States history. She was held for twenty-two days.
When Shoshana returned to the United States, she received numerous awards for her valor, including the Bronze Star, Purple Heart, and Prisoner of War medals. She was bound by a military gag order. She was unable to discuss what really happened in Iraq -- until now.
In this account she reveals decisions made by higher-ups that may have led to the capture, describes the pain of post-traumatic stress disorder, and shares the surprising story of how a specialist in a maintenance company ended up on the front lines of war.
Shoshana Nyree Johnson was born in the Republic of Panama and moved to the United States with her family when she was a child. A second-generation Army veteran, she did not plan a career in the military, but became a JROTC cadet in 1991 and joined the U.S. Army in September 1998 while attending classes at the University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP).
On March 23rd, 2003, during Operation Iraqi Freedom, Shoshana was in a convoy that was ambushed in the city of an-Nasiriyah. Wounded, she and five fellow soldiers were captured and taken as prisoners of war, making world news headlines. The POWs were rescued by U.S. Marines on the morning of April 13, and Shoshana returned to the U.S., retiring from the Army on a Temporary Disability Honorable Discharge in December 2003. Her awards and decorations include the Bronze Star Medal, Purple Heart Medal, and the Prisoner of War Medal. U.S. Army officials also identified Shoshana as the first female POW of Operation Iraqi Freedom, and the first black female POW in U.S. war history.