Army Sgt. Lashawn D. Evans
Shawn Evans' first shot at high school, at Richland Northeast, was a bit rough, one of his school counselors said. He could have fallen through the cracks and never received a diploma. But he switched schools and kept pushing.
"He made the best of the time he was here," said Blythewood Academy counselor Latonya Freeman. "He flourished while he was here, and he went on and got his high school diploma."
Freeman said he excelled academically and loved playing basketball. His grandmother Dorothy Evans also stayed on him to make sure he succeeded, she said.
Evans, 24, of Columbia, S.C., died Feb. 15 in Baghdad, Iraq, in an incident not related to combat. He was a petroleum supply specialist assigned to Fort Riley. He joined the military in 2008. The Army is investigating his death.
Family members said he enlisted to support his wife of three years, Pfc. Florinda Cierra Evans, and 4-year-old daughter, Shanirea Amiracle Evans. His wife also was serving in Iraq. His brother, Jamel Green, had been serving in Afghanistan.
"He was our rock," Green said. "I'm proud of the man my brother became."
Air Force Airman 1st Class Christoffer P. Johnson
Those who knew Christoffer Johnson said he was always the one who could be counted on.
Joseph Simon wrote in a post on Facebook of the time he went with Johnson so the airman could get his passport in London. They had to take a taxi _ not Simon's preferred mode of transportation.
"Chris talked me down while the taxi weaved in and out of traffic," Simon wrote. "I was hyperventilating and Chris somehow made it easier to get over."
Johnson, 20, of Clarksville, Tenn., was killed in a car crash Feb. 17 while on security patrol at Udeid Air Base, Qatar. He had been based at an air force base in Alconbury, England.
Another acquaintance recalled losing his ride to the airport, and having to go out on a limb and ask Johnson at 2 a.m. _ knowing Johnson wouldn't get any sleep. But Johnson obliged, Cody Lane wrote in a Facebook post. And he tried not to accept the $50 Lane offered to him for his troubles.
"He was a morally bound person, and though he never carried himself as better than others, you could tell through his own actions that he was indeed elevated in maturity and spiritual growth more so then his peers," Thomas O'Leary wrote in an online memorial. O'Leary said he had previously worked with Johnson.
Johnson is survived by his parents, Marcus and Julee, and siblings Katelyn and Seth.
Air Force Airman 1st Class Corey C. Owens
Corey Owens was a proud father.
On his Myspace page, the 26-year-old from San Antonio listed his two goals: to become a better dad and to rise through the ranks of the U.S. Air Force, according to the San Antonio Express-News.
The airman was killed Feb. 17 in a non-combat related incident on Iraq's Al Asad Air Base. Few details about his death have been released.
Owens joined the Air Force in 2008 and deployed to Iraq in December for a six-month tour. It was his second deployment.
Commanders said he quickly showed potential as a leader in his squadron, where he worked as an "Air Force cop."
"He just had a natural knack as a leader," Maj. Ian Dinesen, a commander at Laughlin Air Force Base in Texas where Owens was assigned, told the newspaper. "(It was) definitely a rare quality."
In online musings, Owens said he'd like to die for his country, the newspaper reported.
"That offers some comfort he felt that way," his mother, Chris Owens, told the paper. "It doesn't take away the pain, but we're a military family, and we know this can happen."
Owens is survived by his wife and daughters _ Xiya, 5, and Xoe, 3.