Originally created 02/28/05

Soldier remembered as courageous, determined



ORANGEBURG, S.C. - Army Spc. Katrina L. Johnson Bell was remembered Saturday as a good friend who was courageous, determined and dedicated to her church.

Bell, 32, died in a vehicle accident in Baqubah on Feb. 16. while delivering supplies.

"I thank the Lord for Katrina," her friend Jerry Stroman told The (Orangeburg) Times and Democrat. "She gave her all to the people she loved. And in the end, she gave all she had for her country. I know that she is at peace with God."

Bell married her husband a little more than a year ago and gave birth to their daughter shortly after.

She was deployed to Iraq when her daughter was just two months old. She came home for six months but was again deployed just before Christmas.

Deacon Billery Koger of Chapel Hill Baptist Church said many tears had been shed over the shocking news of Bell's death.

"But almost all of her life, she was very much alive and active in the church and I'm so glad that Trina knew someone who stands above time and space," he said.

An American flag draped her casket. Soldiers in full-dress uniform carried it from the church.

Bell was a Columbia native. She went to Midlands Technical College, where she earned qualifications to become an operating room technician. She had worked at several hospitals, most recently The Regional Medical Center of Orangeburg & Calhoun Counties.

Her sister, Nicole Johnson, said Bell enlisted about years ago. She was assigned to the 418th Transportation Company, 180th Transportation Battalion based at Fort Hood, Texas.

Fort Jackson Commander Brig. Gen. Abraham Turner attended the funeral and said his heart goes out to the family.

"There is really nothing you can say to them that will give them any comfort. There is no comfort for losing a child but God and time," he said. "I have cried with them, I have hugged them and I have told them their daughter was a great soldier with great courage. In this, as always, I hope that what I've said and done made their burden a little lighter and strengthened them for the days to come."

Twenty-seven military members from South Carolina have died in the war in Iraq.