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Leroy (Lee) Johnson, age 94, passed away peacefully on 18 November 2013 at Sandalwood Nursing Center in Daytona Beach. Lee was born on 10 October 1919, in Detroit Michigan where he spent his childhood. Lee voluntarily enlisted in the Army on 19 June 1941, just 6 months before the attack on Pearl Harbor. After basic Infantry training, Lee decided that he was tough enough to be a paratrooper so at the age of 23, he volunteered for Airborne training at Fort Benning, GA. Upon earning his paratrooper wings, Lee was assigned to the 517th Parachute Regimental Combat Team (PRCT) knowing that the 517th PRCT would see combat in the European Theater. Lee deployed with the 517th PRCT to Southern France where the 517th entered combat for 94 consecutive days a feat unmatched to date. On 17 December 1944, the 517th was moved into Belgium where Lee saw combat at the Battle of the Bulge and afterwards awarded the Presidential Unit Citation for heroism following this battle. Having honorably served 4 1/2 years as a paratrooper, Lee was discharged. Returning to Detroit, Lee became a founding member of VFW Post 7573 and he served as Post Commander from 1949-1950. His outstanding Army service earned him the Good Conduct and Bronze Star Medals. Burial will be at Jacksonville National Cemetery with military honors. Lee and his family are especially thankful for the compassion and care provided by Case Manager Marianne of Halifax Health Hospice as well as the staff of Sandalwood Nursing Center. At Sandalwood, a special thanks to Gus, Pat, Tania, Felicia, and Dana for their unwavering care and comfort that Lee enjoyed. Lee is survived by his wife Doreen, his sister-in-law, Pauline, numerous nieces and nephews and his paratrooper friend, Earl. Share a memory with the family at www.BaldwinCremation.com.
Published in Daytona Beach News-Journal on Nov. 21, 2013