By SUSAN BONNEVILLE and MIKE BEDARDTThe Associated PressAssociated PressCLEVELAND (AP) — A veteran veteran of the United States military is retiring, and his retirement is sparking a national debate over the role of the military in society.
Retired Army Capt. Charles M. Johnson has served in the military since 1986.
He retired from the military on Dec. 3 and will now be remembered for a decade-long battle with the brain cancer that killed him.
His name has become synonymous with the fight against brain cancer, but Johnson also faced it during his service in Afghanistan.
His battle with brain cancer was the catalyst for his retirement from the United State military, a process that began when he began suffering from the rare and aggressive form of the cancer known as glioblastoma.
His health began to deteriorate and he started receiving aggressive treatment, such as chemotherapy and radiation, at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C. But his health worsened.
On Feb. 3, 2010, Johnson received the first of two doses of chemotherapy at Walter Revell National Military Medical Center.
Doctors told him that chemotherapy and other treatments could not cure the disease.
He was told he was at a high risk for brain cancer.
The next day, the Mayo Clinic notified Johnson of his diagnosis and told him he would receive two more doses of the chemotherapy, which were given on Feb. 20.
Johnson did not know the exact number of doses he would be receiving.
He said he received one, but he did not remember exactly when he received it.
Johnson said he never had any idea he had cancer.
He and his wife were both in their 80s.
Their son, a firefighter who is in the Army, was born in 2001 and grew up in the same apartment complex.
Johnson, who was born and raised in Cleveland, Ohio, was the first veteran to receive the Purple Heart for bravery during the Iraq War.
He went to Vietnam with the Ohio National Guard and was deployed to the southern Vietnamese province of Saigon.
After he returned home, he began to receive treatment for his brain cancer and underwent chemo.
He said he began his retirement by writing letters to the families of the people who had served in his unit, and then sending them a handwritten message about his cancer diagnosis.
He also began working on a memorial fund to pay for his funeral expenses.
“I just wanted to do it for my family and the men and women who were fighting this disease,” he said.
Johnson was in the Marine Corps Reserve for five years.
He has been stationed in Japan, Thailand and South Korea, and is a captain in the Air Force Reserve.
He had served two tours in Afghanistan and was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross, the highest decoration in the U.S. military.
He served in Iraq and Kuwait as a combat engineer.
Johnson said he believes he was in command during the fighting in the Persian Gulf, which resulted in the deaths of thousands of Iraqi soldiers.
Johnson retired from active duty in 2012 and is now the founder of the American Veterans Defense Fund, which raises money for veterans’ families.
He started the fund in 2015 after retiring from the U:S.
He is not a board member of the organization.
The American Veterans Association also announced that it will honor Johnson as a fellow of the Order of the Purple Hearts.