05 January 2014

Have You Heard The Story of LaVena Johnson? | RallyPoint.com

This story was originally posted here.

Have You Heard The Story of LaVena Johnson?

LaVena Johnson was a soldier who enlisted in the Army in 2003. She was the first woman from Missouri to die in Iraq. What happened to this young black woman was appalling.  She was found in her tent with a gunshot wound to the head, a broken nose, black eye, loose teeth, acid burns on her genitals, and a trail of blood leading away from her tent.  What’s even more appalling is the Department of Defense has officially ruled her death a suicide.

The autopsy report and photographs revealed that her death was inconsistent with a suicide, and looked consistent with a rape-murder, but as far as the U.S. Criminal Investigative Command for the Army is concerned the case remains closed.  Her father became suspicious when he saw her body in the funeral home and decided to investigate.  At first the Department of the Army refused to release information, but eventually it did under the Freedom of Information Act after Pat Tillman’s death.  In 2010, a documentary about her family’s struggle to uncover the truth about her death called  LaVena Johnson: The Silent Truth was released.  Here’s a clip below:


  1. Suicide? This needs to be investigated, but I see how big brother will fight this with bureaucratic resistance. She would have had better justice being a rape - homicide victim in Detroit.

  2. It's insane how the DoA covers up things like this. We're constantly subjected to powerpoint after powerpoint to "prevent" sexual harassment, sexual assault, and rape. However, the numbers seem to drop when it comes to sexual violence. The military needs to change it's posture from "here's how the brass is going to protect itself" to actually helping those subjected to such awful violence.

  3. Unfortunately the military has its head in the sand (or up their butts) on the issue of sexual assault of service members!

  4. The Military Sexual Assault bill was killed in the Senate 45-55 a few months back. It was not one party overall that killed the bill but a combination Senators from both parties who were afraid to "change the status-quo". Even as a Veteran, I see the military as a huge "Boy's Club" where senior personnel (Both enlisted and officer) will cover their buddies butt or refuse to allow an independent investigation fearing that they might look bad. We need IG/JAGs that can investigate events and be come to an impartial conclusion. Take the power out of the hands of the direct Chain of Command.