Shoshana Nyree Johnson was born in the Republic of Panama and moved to the United States with her family when she was a child. A second-generation Army veteran, she did not plan a career in the military, but became a JROTC cadet in 1991 and joined the U.S. Army in September 1998 while attending classes at the University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP).
On March 23rd, 2003, during Operation Iraqi Freedom, Shoshana was in a convoy that was ambushed in the city of an-Nasiriyah. Wounded, she and five fellow soldiers were captured and taken as prisoners of war, making world news headlines. The POWs were rescued by U.S. Marines on the morning of April 13, and Shoshana returned to the U.S., retiring from the Army on a Temporary Disability Honorable Discharge in December 2003. Her awards and decorations include the Bronze Star Medal, Purple Heart Medal, and the Prisoner of War Medal. U.S. Army officials also identified Shoshana as the first female POW of Operation Iraqi Freedom, and the first black female POW in U.S. war history.
Shoshana lives in El Paso, Texas with her daughter Janelle, her sisters Nikki and Erika, and two nieces.
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