Shoshana Nyree Johnson (born January 18, 1973) is a Panamanian-born former United States soldier, and the first African-American female prisoner of war in the military history of the United States. Johnson was a Specialist of the U.S. Army 507th Maintenance Company, 5/52 ADA BN, 11th ADA Brigade. During the Battle of Nasiriyah, she suffered bullet wounds to both of her ankles and was captured by Iraqi forces. She was held prisoner in Iraq for 22 days along with five other members of her unit. She was freed in a rescue mission conducted by United States Marine Corps units on April 13, 2003.
Life and career
Johnson, a second-generation U.S. Army veteran, is a native of Panama, and moved to the United States with her family when she was a child. She is the eldest child of retired Army Sergeant First Class Claude Johnson and wife Eunice. In 1991, Johnson was in the JROTC program at Andress High School, although she did not plan a career in the military. She joined the U.S. Army in September 1998 after dropping out of University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP).
In February 2003, while serving her second military assignment at Fort Bliss, Texas, Johnson received orders to deploy to Iraq as a Quartermaster Corps Food Service Specialist (MOS 92G) with the 507th Maintenance Company, 5/52 ADA BN, 11th ADA Brigade. Shoshana enlisted with the duty of preparing meals. She says that she had no intention of going into combat. Her company's duty was to supply mechanics to repair the Patriot missile trucks housed at the post.
On March 23, 2003, one month after her arrival to serve as part of Operation Iraqi Freedom, Johnson was in a convoy that was ambushed and taken captive in the city of Nasiriyah. Iraqi troops ambushed her supply convoy when it took a wrong turn. There had been bitter fighting around Nasiriyah, a vital crossing point of the River Euphrates. Johnson was among a dozen soldiers in the convoy who were captured. She received a bullet wound to her ankles.