Scioto County Coroner Terry A. Johnson, D.O., announced today that he will be deployed with the Ohio Army National Guard (OHARNG) in 2009 to Iraq as part of Operation Iraqi Freedom 9.
“I have been expecting this for some time, but now it’s official,” Johnson said. “I have been selected and given a report date in early 2009 for Fort Benning, GA.”
Dr. Johnson announced that no interruption in coroner service will take place and he will continue in his position as Scioto County Coroner while on military duty, as stipulated by Ohio law. His tour is expected to last approximately three and a half months, during which Scioto County’s Chief Deputy Coroner Wayne Wheeler, MD, will coordinate operations for the Scioto County Coroner’s Office.
“This is my third trip over, so we have done this before,” Johnson said. “I maintain a staff of deputies who cover the county when I am not available. I have worked hard to put together this team. The deputies are well qualified to handle any and all issues. I am grateful that Drs. Wheeler, George Pettit, Robert Newman and Darren Adams will be here to serve the people of Scioto County while I do my duty. I’m blessed to work with such an exceptional group of doctors.”
Johnson holds a commission as a US Army colonel and is the commander of the Ohio Army National Guard’s Medical Detachment. Since the beginning of the Global War On Terrorism in 2001, he has overseen statewide medical operations necessary to deploy Ohio’s citizen soldiers.
In addition to his duties as coroner, Johnson is the director of the Family Practice Residency program for Southern Ohio Medical Center (SOMC). He is an assistant dean and clinical associate professor of family medicine at Ohio University College of Osteopathic Medicine (OUCOM). He supervises resident physicians and medical students at the Lucasville Family Practice Center. Patient hours at Lucasville will continue in his absence.
“The support I have received from SOMC and from OUCOM has been exceptional. I could not work for finer institutions. They are backing me 100 percent, just as they do for all their military employees. This is the kind of support that every soldier across America should receive. SOMC and Ohio University go above and beyond in their support of America’s soldiers. Our community can take great pride in this. I also can’t say enough about the support I have received from my constituents, the good people of Scioto County. It is wonderful to live in a place where people support the troops and value their service. They recognize that my mission as an Army doctor is to look after our kids who are over there serving us.”
Johnson’s first trip to Iraq came in the spring of 2004, when he was stationed in Baghdad and the Green Zone. He re-deployed in the spring of 2006 as a Task Force Flight Surgeon, supporting a special helicopter unit operating in Kuwait and Iraq. The upcoming 2009 mission will see him perform similar duties for an Ohio Aviation Battalion, the 1-137th Assault Helicopter Battalion. The Battalion will be operating out of bases north of Baghdad. As on previous deployments, Johnson will maintain communication with his various offices while in Iraq through frequent calls and email.
Johnson also pointed out that he is just one of many from our community and Ohio who have been called to duty. “My hat goes off to all who have been activated, and for the members of our full-time military who continue to do such an incredible job. My family and I pray for the safe return of each and every one.”