‘Sgt. La David Johnson’
By Pastor Rasheed Z Baaith
“And when ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars, be ye not troubled: for such things must needs be; but the end is not yet.” (Mark 13:7)
The Green Berets are a highly decorated Special Forces unit of the United States Army. They are one of the few things in this world as good as their reputation says they are. To become a member of the Green Berets, one must be exceptional in every sense of the world.
Intelligence, an outstanding record of at least 3 years of service in the military, the ability to handle stress of all types, be in incredible physical condition are all basic requirements of enlisting and being accepted into the Green Berets. And all of that will just get your foot in the door, completing specialized training can take up to three years.
In short, someone who wears the Green Beret is someone who is extraordinary. Someone like Sgt. La David Johnson.
Sgt. Johnson had demonstrated the extraordinary capabilities he had earlier in life in Miami Gardens. A success story from the 5,000 Role Models of Excellence, a program birthed by Rep. Frederica Wilson while she was a school principal, Sgt. Johnson proved to be an ideal role model.
Refusing to do more than just live in his life, he enlisted in the Army in 2014 and moved quickly up the ranks, receiving a number of awards during his too short military career. I think I counted at least seven awards. His last assignment was Niger.
America has a number of troops on the continent of Africa including the 600 or so in Niger, many of whom were ordered there by President Obama. They are there assisting and training the troops of Niger in their fight against Isis connected fighters like Boko Haram. Africa is rapidly becoming the new battleground in the war against global terrorism. With all the continent has to offer in terms of natural resources, land use, people and the mercurial political climate continent wide, it ideal for the kind of upheaval Isis ferments. It was only a matter of time before Isis came in force.
Add to that situation the fact Isis has lost much if not all of what it had in Syria, Africa is a logical progression for a land grab.
What all this geopolitical, armed conflict involved strategies means is that military families like Sgt. John-sons’ are going see more of their love ones dying in action while stationed in countries like Niger, Chad, Nigeria and Sudan.
It also means that while many African Americans have never acknowledged the value and vast resources of Africa, others have. Including the United States at long last. And the cost of this country’s long hesitancy to see countries of the continent as equal partners in the war against terror is going to prove costly. We will lose more like Sgt. La David Johnson as a result. And our people really can’t afford to. We have too few young Black men wanting to be husbands, celebrating their role as fathers and loving the community they live in as much as they love their family the way Sgt. Johnson did. Way too few.
Sgt. Johnson did not run from responsibility, he ran toward it.
As a result what this country owes his family and what our community will miss cannot even begun to be calculated. After all, how does one measure what is priceless?