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Marine Lance Cpl. Larry M. Johnson

Died February 18, 2010 Serving During Operation Enduring Freedom

19, of Scranton, Pa.; assigned to the 2nd Combat Engineer Battalion, 2nd Marine Division, II Marine Expeditionary Force, Camp Lejeune, N.C.; died Feb. 18 while supporting combat operations in Helmand province, Afghanistan.

Fallen Pa. teen called good-natured, proud Marine

The Associated Press

SCRANTON, Pa. — A teenager killed last week in Afghanistan is being remembered as a proud Marine and a friendly youth with a close-knit family.

Lance Cpl. Larry M. Johnson, 19, of Scranton died Feb. 18 while supporting combat operations in Helmand province, military authorities said. He joined the Marine Corps after graduating Scranton High School in 2008 and was with the 2nd Combat Engineer Battalion, 2nd Marine Expeditionary Brigade, based out of Camp Lejeune, N.C.

Johnson had been in the country for four months, said 2nd Marine Division spokesman 1st Lt. Evan Pettyjohn.

Dominic Rodriguez, 19, who had known Johnson since both were toddlers, described him as a laid-back person who enjoyed hanging out with his buddies as they watched MTV.

“He was never mad, ever. He went through a lot in his life and never did he let that bring him down. He was always with a smile on his face,” Rodriguez said.

Rodriguez’s mother, Amy, said she was with the family Thursday shortly after they received the news about their son’s death.

“My heart just aches for the family right now,” she said. “He loved his mom so much. ... He was their hero. They loved him so much.”

Scranton High principal Eric Schaeffer recalled Johnson as a polite, friendly student who looked forward to joining the Marines. He also remembered his mother’s pride as she dropped off a picture of him in his uniform at the school earlier in the week.

“I can picture him walking down the hall — blond hair and bright blue eyes, always smiling,” he said.

His former English teacher, Jennifer Brotherton, also remembers him as a good-natured youth who almost always had a smile on his face.

“He had a really good heart and he was so full of energy,” she said. “Any time a child dies, it’s too soon.”

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