Lexington officer helps police with transition to military duty and back
Permission to re-publish by Lexington Herald Leader (story by Josh Kegley, photo by David Perry, Lexington Herald Leader)
LEXINGTON, Ky. (Dec. 31, 2010) — Brandy Joe Johnson retired from the Kentucky National Guard after serving three tours of duty, most recently in Iraq. But he still has a mission to help his fellow soldiers and veterans.
At first glance, he is a stern man; he assesses you with pursed lips and squinted eyes as if he just caught you breaking the law. But when he speaks, Johnson is quiet and affable. He laughs when he recalls stories — some more frightening than funny — from his most recent deployment to Iraq in 2006.
He tells of spiraling rapidly down thousands of feet as a passenger in a C-130 Hercules transport plane during corkscrew landings. (“I hate flying,” he says, chuckling.) He tells of riding around the city of Mosul in “the buffalo,” a giant armored vehicle that exists solely to detonate improvised explosive devices by poking them with a giant metal prong.
He recalls collapsing with relief — which erupted into uncontrolled laughter — after he and several squad mates narrowly escaped being taken hostage by Iraqi militants.
Johnson, who describes himself as an adventurous man, said he liked “the uncertainty” of the military. It’s the same thing that he enjoys about his job as a Lexington police officer.
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