Family of fallen soldier receives Silver Star

Posted: Sunday, July 29, 2007

LOCUST FORK, Ala. - The family of an Alaska-based soldier who was killed by insurgents in Iraq received the Silver Star on his behalf Saturday.

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Army Pfc. Johnathon Millican, 20, covered an enemy concussion grenade with his body and was one of five U.S. soldiers killed during the attack in Karbala.

The medal ceremony was at Locust Fork High School in Alabama's Blount County, where Millican graduated two years ago.

The medal is the Army's third highest valor award.

Roses were given to Millican's family members, and there was a flyover by a KC-135, a tanker jet from the Birmingham-based 117th Air Refueling Wing of the Alabama Air National Guard. An estimated 400 to 500 people attended.

Millican was a member of the 377th Parachute Field Artillery Regiment from Fort Richardson. He was off duty in a communications room exchanging e-mails with his wife when the Jan. 20 attack started. The attackers fired several rounds into the room with an AK-47 and one of them tossed in a grenade.

In an earlier interview, Mitchell Millican told The Birmingham News his son was on one knee facing the door "ready to shoot" at that point.

"He could just as easily have jumped behind a desk or ducked down or whatever, but he chose to cover the grenade," Mitchell Millican said. "And, to me, that shows character that's becoming."

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