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Family of Blount County soldier killed in Iraq to get his Silver Star

LOCUST FORK (AP) — The family of Army Pfc. Johnathon Millican, who was killed by insurgents in Iraq on Jan. 20, received the Silver Star on his behalf Saturday.

The 20-year-old Millican 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 Blount County, where Millican graduated two years ago.

Third-highest award

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, Alaska.

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 said 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.”

The Army said it was a concussion grenade, designed to stun, not kill, its target.

According to an autopsy report, Millican died from shots to the back of the head and abdomen.

U.S. Rep. Spencer Bachus, R-Birmingham, has asked the Pentagon to consider awarding the soldier the Medal of Honor, a process that could take months or even years.

Copyright 2005 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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