A 23-year-old airman from suburban Chicago has been killed while serving in Afghanistan.
The Department of Defense said Senior Airman Daniel Johnson of Schiller Park died Tuesday in Kandahar, Afghanistan.
The department said insurgents attacked Johnson's unit with an improvised explosive devise. He'd been assigned to the 30th Civil Engineer Squadron, Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif.
He was one of 10 airment in the Explosive Ordiance Disposal program at the base, and their work had been featured in the 2008 film, "The Hurt Locker."
"The things they do in that film are not exactly how we do it. we concentrate a lot on safety and as you can see in the film, they're pretty reckless," Johnson told Santa Barbara NBC station KSBY earlier this year.
Johnson graduated in 2005 from Monona Grove High School in Monona, Wis., after four years as a good student and three-sport athlete, the school's principal, Paul Brost, told the Wisconsin State Journal.
"This young man was a truly exceptional person," said Johnson's former teacher, Denise Peterson. "He's someone who exemplifies maturity, kindness [and] responsibility. He was a very fun-loving student. A very fun-loving kid, but also mature, responsible, respectful in a way that not all students always are. So he was truly someone you remember, and remember well as a special young man,"
Johnson was on the football, swimming and track teams. He also was editor of the school yearbook and worked on the student newspaper.
Friends said Johnson got married in June.