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May 23, 2014

Female Soldier Rewarded

Roy Meachum

Army National Guard Staff Sgt. Tracy Dice Johnson will receive the benefits retroactive to her wife’s death in October 2012. “That was before the Supreme Court’s ruling in the summer of 2013 overturning parts of the Defense of Marriage Act,” the press release takes pain to put out.


You read that correctly. Ms. Johnson changed her last name after the slaughter by a suicide bomber of Army National Guard Staff Sgt. Donna Johnson. “My hat’s off to the VA. It was a long, drawn out process, but in the end of the day, hearts and minds prevailed,” she said. Three were killed with Sergeant Johnson.


The Veterans Administration is a part of the federal government; you can’t get higher than that. The surviving Johnson announced May 17, Saturday, at the inaugural Gala Dinner of the American Military Partners Association; she received the organization’s Community Hero Award. Tracy Dice Johnson thanked the association for the support she has received, as well as her parents, her mother-in-law Sandra Johnson “and the love of my life, Donna, who I know is here with us.”


The Johnsons enrolled in the North Carolina Guard, which welcomes LGBT people.


Rosemary Williams, deputy assistant secretary of defense for military community and family policy, praised the group for their work: “History will record your action and its significance for all time,” she said, “also noting that group’s input helped guide the Defense Department in implementing the changes that allowing benefits for same-sex couples in the military.”


“There are challenges, such as lack of access to in-state tuition for spouses and burdens for gay couples who want to adopt. It’s clear we have a long journey ahead of us, but also clear we’ve come a long way,” Stephen Peters, president of the American Military Partners Association, whose annual dinner was also Saturday.


Congratulations, Staff Sgt. Tracy Dice Johnson!!!


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