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Marine Lance Cpl. Johnny R. Strong

Died June 12, 2007 Serving During Operation Iraqi Freedom

21, of Waco, Texas; assigned to 2nd Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, Twentynine Palms, Calif.; died June 12 while conducting combat operations in Karmah, Iraq.

Marine from Waco dies in Iraq

The Associated Press

WACO, Texas — A 21-year-old Marine from Waco died during an ambush while on routine patrol in Iraq, the Department of Defense announced June 15.

Lance Cpl. Johnny R. Strong, who had dreamed of being a Marine most of his life, died June 12 in the Anbar province.

He joined the Junior ROTC during his school years.

His mother, Jacqueline Williams, described him as a quiet, stay-at-home son who changed in his late teens.

“I finally said, ‘Go make some friends,’ and that’s when he really flourished,” she said.

Strong described himself as “just a regular person trying to make friends” on his MySpace profile, which he last updated June 8.

He liked to camp, listen to symphony music and play the organ, family members and friends said. He once won a citywide bowling championship in his league.

Strong, who was assigned to 2nd Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division in Twentynine Palms, Calif., was on his second tour in Iraq and was scheduled to return in August. When his first tour ended last fall, Strong returned to Waco for Christmas and left for Iraq at the end of January.

Strong initially planned to make a career out of the military, but after his first tour he decided he wanted to become an engineer.

After graduating from A.J. Moore Academy in 2004, Strong went to boot camp in San Diego, then spent six months in training, earning a marksmanship award.

“Johnny’s an only child, so his mom always tried to stop him from going to Iraq because she didn’t want to lose her only son,” said Strong’s grandmother, Minerva Williams. “But he just told her, ‘Mom, you should just adopt another kid.”’

Funeral arrangements are pending. A scholarship fund in Strong’s memory has been established at the academy, and donations can be made through the school.

Friends, teachers remembers Marine killed in Iraq

The Associated Press

When Ashlie Devaney spotted a street sign that had her mother’s name on it, she turned to her partner in crime, classmate Johnny R. Strong.

“We snuck to where the sign was and spent about an hour trying to get it down without being loud and getting caught. We would run every time a car came up, then wait and run back to the sign.”

She added: “We laughed the whole time. It was one of those childish, teenage things, but it meant something to me that he would risk getting caught just to help me get the sign for my mom.

He was always there for a friend.”

Marine Lance Cpl. Johnny R. Strong, 21, of Waco, Texas, was killed June 12 in combat in Anbar province, Iraq. He was a 2004 high school graduate and was assigned to Twentynine Palms, Calif.

“The most important thing to Johnny in high school was becoming a Marine,” said Claudia Compian, a classmate. “He told me if he ever did anything with his life, he wanted to be a Marine.”

Strong liked symphony music and played the organ. Bowling was another hobby, and he eventually won the citywide championship in his league.

He is survived by his mother, Jacqueline Williams, and father, Steve Strong.

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