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Last Updated: Sunday, 9 December 2007, 22:14 GMT
Army releases dead soldier's name
Sgt Lee Johnson (MoD)
Sgt Lee Johnson was training the Afghan National Army
The soldier killed during an assault on a Taleban stronghold in Afghanistan has been named as Sergeant Lee Johnson by the Ministry of Defence.

Sgt Johnson, 33, serving with the 2nd Battalion The Yorkshire Regiment, was killed when an explosion hit his vehicle near Musa Qala, Helmand.

Another soldier was seriously injured in the blast, probably caused by a mine, on 8 December.

His commanding officer paid tribute to him as "one of life's great gems".

Young family

Sgt Johnson was a member of the Operational Mentoring and Liaison Team, involved with training the Afghan National Army.

His brother also serves in the battalion.

He was engaged to marry his fiancee Lisa on 1 August, and had a son, Ashley, and two-year-old daughter, Lilly Rose.

In a statement via the Ministry of Defence, Lisa said: "He told me his leave was cancelled earlier this month but I knew he had offered to stay and take part in this operation against the Taleban.

"That's what made him the soldier he was, dedicated, professional and always in the thick of it."

She also said: "He was a soldier first and a father and fiance second. He loved his job, it's all he talked about. I didn't mind though, it's part of the reason I loved him. "

And Sgt Johnson's sister, Cassandra, said his family regarded him as a "hero".

She said: "We are just glad that his brother Don is with him and can bring him home to us."

'Great style'

Commanding officer Lt Col Simon Downey said of Sgt Johnson: "It was typical that he died taking charge of a difficult situation and driving it on.

"Wherever he went, whatever he did, he made a difference, and always with that great style of his.

"His loss robs the battalion he loved of one of its great lights, a comrade regarded with tremendous affection and respect; but he, of all of us, would not have had us falter."

Defence Secretary Des Browne, who is currently in Afghanistan, said he was a "respected, dedicated professional who brought enthusiasm and humour to his work."

Sgt Johnson was born in Stockton-on-Tees, and began basic training as a 16-year-old.

He had postings in Canada, Germany and Belize, as well as serving in Northern Ireland, the former Yugoslavia, and two tours in Afghanistan.

The Ministry of Defence said he was an accomplished sportsman, representing the battalion at boxing and the Army at judo.

His death brings the number of UK forces fatalities in Afghanistan to 86 since October 2001.



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