Naval Academy identifies midshipman who died while on leave

naval-academy-identifies-midshipman-who-died-while-on-leave

The U.S. Naval Academy has identified a midshipman who died Monday night in a drowning accident while on leave.

Midshipman 1st Class (senior) John Johnson, 22, of Chapel Hill, North Carolina, was with friends at a resort’s outdoor pool in Park City, Utah, Monday when he didn’t come up for air, according to an academy release.

His friends jumped in the pool and pulled him out, but Johnson was later pronounced dead at Park City Medical Center.

“We are deeply saddened to learn about the death of Midshipman John Johnson,” Vice Adm. Sean Buck, the academy’s superintendent, said in a statement. “My wife, Joanne, and I, on behalf of our Naval Academy family here in Annapolis, including the many midshipmen, faculty and staff who had formed deep bonds with John, extend our heartfelt condolences to the Johnson family.”

Johnson attended the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill before being selected for admission to the academy’s class of 2021 and reporting to Annapolis in June 2017.

He was a member of the 29th Company and served as platoon commander this year.

Johnson was an honors mathematics major and was tapped for the academy’s elite Trident Scholar Program for his research on matroid invariants and error correcting codes, according to the academy.

He was also a member of the math and chess clubs and was ranked in the top 40 overall among his classmates while sitting on the Superintendent’s List for most of his time at the academy.

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A sign stands outside of an entrance to the U.S. Naval Academy campus in Annapolis, Md., on Jan. 9, 2014. (Patrick Semansky/AP)

Johnson was awarded the Navy and Marine Corps Association Leadership Award by his peers in the 2019 academic year as well.

“If I were to describe John in one word, it would be ‘passion,’” 29th Company Officer Lt. Eric Nordquist said in a statement. “He epitomized and excelled in every area and earned the respect of everyone who crossed his path. He will be sorely missed.”

The academy has made counseling services available in person and virtually to midshipmen, faculty and staff.

Funeral arrangements are pending, and more information will be released by the academy as it becomes available.

Johnson is survived by his parents, Kim and John, and his four younger brothers, Vance, Paul, Franklin and Teddy.

About

Geoff is a senior staff reporter for Military Times, focusing on the Navy. He covered Iraq and Afghanistan extensively and was most recently a reporter at the Chicago Tribune. He welcomes any and all kinds of tips at geoffz@militarytimes.com.

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