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Vandenberg holds memorial service for fallen Airman

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- Members of the of 30th Civil Engineer Squadron Explosive Ordnance Disposal Flight here carry Senior Airman Daniel Johnson, their fallen brother in arms, to a hearse here Wednesday, Oct. 13, 2010. Airman Johnson, an EOD technician, was killed in the line of duty Tuesday, Oct. 5, 2010, in Hendu, Kandahar, Afghanistan. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Stephanie Longoria)

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- Members of the of 30th Civil Engineer Squadron Explosive Ordnance Disposal Flight here carry Senior Airman Daniel Johnson, their fallen brother in arms, to a hearse here Wednesday, Oct. 13, 2010. Airman Johnson, an EOD technician, was killed in the line of duty Tuesday, Oct. 5, 2010, in Hendu, Kandahar, Afghanistan. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Stephanie Longoria)

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- Members of the of 30th Civil Engineer Squadron Explosive Ordnance Disposal Flight here carry Senior Airman Daniel Johnson, their fallen brother in arms, to a hearse here Wednesday, Oct. 13, 2010. Airman Johnson, an EOD technician, was killed in the line of duty Tuesday, Oct. 5, 2010, in Hendu, Kandahar, Afghanistan. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Stephanie Longoria)

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- Members of the of 30th Civil Engineer Squadron Explosive Ordnance Disposal Flight here carry Senior Airman Daniel Johnson, their fallen brother in arms, to a hearse here Wednesday, Oct. 13, 2010. Airman Johnson, an EOD technician, was killed in the line of duty Tuesday, Oct. 5, 2010, in Hendu, Kandahar, Afghanistan. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Stephanie Longoria)

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. – Airmen salute a hearse carrying a fallen Vandenberg Airman as it passes by on Utah Avenue here in route to Chapel 1 for a memorial service on Wednesday, Oct. 13, 2010. Senior Airman Daniel Johnson, 23, was conducting explosive ordnance disposal operations in Hendu, Kandahar, Afghanistan, on Tuesday, Oct. 5, 2010, when an improvised explosive device detonated, taking his life. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Lael Huss)

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. – Airmen salute a hearse carrying a fallen Vandenberg Airman as it passes by on Utah Avenue here in route to Chapel 1 for a memorial service on Wednesday, Oct. 13, 2010. Senior Airman Daniel Johnson, 23, was conducting explosive ordnance disposal operations in Hendu, Kandahar, Afghanistan, on Tuesday, Oct. 5, 2010, when an improvised explosive device detonated, taking his life. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Lael Huss)

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. – Airmen from the 30th Civil Engineer Squadron Explosive Disposal Ordnance Flight here carry the flag covered casket of Senior Airman Daniel Johnson into Chapel 1 here for a memorial service held for the fallen Vandenberg Airman on Wednesday, Oct. 13, 2010. Airman Johnson was conducting explosive ordnance disposal operations in Hendu, Kandahar, Afghanistan, on Tuesday, Oct. 5, 2010, when an improvised explosive device detonated, taking his life. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Levi Riendeau)

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. – Airmen from the 30th Civil Engineer Squadron Explosive Disposal Ordnance Flight here carry the flag covered casket of Senior Airman Daniel Johnson into Chapel 1 here for a memorial service held for the fallen Vandenberg Airman on Wednesday, Oct. 13, 2010. Airman Johnson was conducting explosive ordnance disposal operations in Hendu, Kandahar, Afghanistan, on Tuesday, Oct. 5, 2010, when an improvised explosive device detonated, taking his life. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Levi Riendeau)

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. – Vandenberg Airmen salute as Senior Airman Daniel Johnson's casket is transferred from a memorial service at Chapel 1 here to another service for the fallen Airman in Santa Maria Wednesday, Oct. 13, 2010. Airman Johnson, a 30th Civil Engineer Squadron Explosive Ordnance Disposal Flight technician, was killed in the line of duty Tuesday, Oct. 5, 2010, in Hendu, Kandahar, Afghanistan.  (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Lael Huss)

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. – Vandenberg Airmen salute as Senior Airman Daniel Johnson's casket is transferred from a memorial service at Chapel 1 here to another service for the fallen Airman in Santa Maria Wednesday, Oct. 13, 2010. Airman Johnson, a 30th Civil Engineer Squadron Explosive Ordnance Disposal Flight technician, was killed in the line of duty Tuesday, Oct. 5, 2010, in Hendu, Kandahar, Afghanistan. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Lael Huss)

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- Family and friends of Senior Airman Daniel Johnson escort his remains into the First Christian Church in Santa Maria on Wednesday, Oct. 13, 2010. Airman Johnson, a 30th Civil Engineer Squadron Explosive Ordnance Disposal Flight technician, was killed in the line of duty Tuesday, Oct. 5, 2010, in Hendu, Kandahar, Afghanistan. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Luke Thelen)

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- Family and friends of Senior Airman Daniel Johnson escort his remains into the First Christian Church in Santa Maria on Wednesday, Oct. 13, 2010. Airman Johnson, a 30th Civil Engineer Squadron Explosive Ordnance Disposal Flight technician, was killed in the line of duty Tuesday, Oct. 5, 2010, in Hendu, Kandahar, Afghanistan. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Luke Thelen)

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- A memorial service was held for a fallen Vandenberg Airman at the Base Chapel Oct. 13.

Hundreds of people filled the chapel's pews to pay their final respects to Senior Airman Daniel Johnson, a 30th Civil Engineer Squadron Explosive Ordnance Disposal technician who was killed in action Oct. 5 west of Kandahar, Afghanistan, by an improvised explosive device.

"Dan died not just defending the United States, but also the entire world against those who use terror to impose their will upon others," said Col. Richard Boltz, 30th Space Wing commander. "He died doing a job he enjoyed and serving a country he loved so that others may live in peace and freedom."

Airman Johnson joined the Air Force in November 2006. After completion of technical training, he was assigned to Vandenberg in October 2007. Since his enlistment, he has been deployed overseas twice. He served a seven-month tour of duty in Iraq in 2009 and was deployed to Afghanistan in August 2010.

"Dan was the epitome of an EOD tech," said Lt. Col. Timothy Dodge, 30th CES commander. "He was known for his expertise and the training of others."

Airman Johnson received three medals from the Afghanistan deployment including the Bronze Star with valor device, Air Force Combat Action Medal and the Purple Heart. The medals were presented to his family during the memorial service.

The medals were earned during an operation in which Airman Johnson's team met heavy resistance in the form of victim-operated improvised explosive devices arranged in a way to deny maneuver and defeat enemy forces. Airman Johnson used mine detection equipment to clear safe approaches and areas. His team engaged and defeated six improvised explosive devices and preformed two post-blast analyses, which provided valuable intelligence.

According to the Airman Johnson's Bronze Star citation, "Airman Johnson bravely approached and cleared an area heavily laden with improvised explosive devices and was single-handedly responsible for saving the life of an Afghan National Army Soldier who was injured by a concealed booby-trap by providing combat lifesaver care."

"He is an American hero - one who fought for his country and died for his country," said Colonel Dodge. "He really made a difference in the lives of others."

The loss of Airman Johnson has deeply affected Vandenberg and the surrounding communities. Vandenberg is offering support services to help people during this time. Here is a list of some of the installation's services that are here to help:

· The Airman and Family Readiness Center, 606-0039
· Mental Health Clinic, 606-8217
· Base Chapel, 606-5773
· Military One Source, 800-342-9647
· Child and Youth Behavioral Program (free and anonymous), 805-315-3852
· Crisis Line, 866-284-3743