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Christopher Johnson, 31, was killed in Iraq when the Chinook helicopter he was flying for the U.S. Army went down over Anbar province during a routine post-maintenance test flight, killing all five on board.

Johnson grew up in Grand Rapids, Mich., and was a member of Ivanrest Christian Reformed Church, Grandville. He joined the military in 1994.

A member of Task Force Dragon, Johnson had been in Iraq for less than a month, his parents said. He had been married for less than two years to Vivian Johnson of Huntsville, Ala., and was a much-loved daddy to her three children, ages 10, 7, and 4.

Johnson’s parents, Charles and Mary Johnson, have lived in Rehoboth, N.M., since 1993, where Charles teaches at Rehoboth Christian School. They are members of Rehoboth CRC. Johnson is also survived by two sisters, Laura Evans of Rehoboth and Dawn Vink of Visalia, Calif.

A memorial service was held at Rehoboth, where Johnson was also buried, and a second memorial service was held at Ivanrest CRC

in Grandville.

The Johnson family said they’ve felt embraced by the Rehoboth and Gallup, N.M., communities. As Christopher’s body was transported into Rehoboth, a crowd of children lined up on both sides of the road, waving flags as the vehicle passed.

The Johnsons also take comfort in Christopher’s assurances to them that “if my chopper goes down, you know where I’ll be—in heaven with Jesus.”

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