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Soldier in 101st who tried to save others dies
An Army sergeant from Alabama who was wounded when part of a cluster bomb exploded
as he tried to save an Iraqi child and members of his unit from harm has died, the soldier's family said yesterday.
Sgt. Troy Jenkins of the Army's 101st Airborne Division, based at Fort Campbell near
Clarksville, Tenn., was a ''happy person'' who was also courageous, his sister Janelle said.
He was 17 when he joined the Marine Corps and joined the Army four years later.
He trained to be a paratrooper, studied Arabic and served in Afghanistan, where he
was grazed by a bullet last year.
''He wasn't scared of anything,'' said Janelle Jenkins, 27, of Repton, Ala.
Jenkins was critically injured when part of a cluster bomb exploded as he tried to
save an Iraqi child and members of his unit from being harmed, said his mother, Connie Gibson.
He died sometime Wednesday afternoon while being transported from Kuwait to a military
hospital in Germany, Gibson said.
''We were just devastated,'' Gibson said in a telephone interview from her home in
''We were told he was stable.''
Military officials initially reported that Saturday's explosion in Baghdad appeared
to be an accident involving an Iraqi girl who tried to hand over a piece of unexploded ordnance.
But Joint Chiefs chairman Gen. Richard Myers said Monday that new information indicated
that the child intended to harm the soldiers with ''an improvised'' explosive, and ran away after she handed it over.
Connie Gibson said Department of Defense officers told the family Monday that Jenkins
was in ''seriously critical'' condition and was undergoing treatment in Kuwait.
''He's a hero,'' Gibson told the Mobile Register, ''a 100% hero. He threw himself on an unexploded cluster bomb to save a child and his unit.''
Jenkins , a graduate of Hillcrest High in Evergreen, Ala., lived in Twentynine Palms,
Calif., with his wife, Amanda, and their two sons, Tristan, 4, and Brandon, 2.
Lingering dangers claim 4
Tue Apr 29. Valerie Alvord, Debbie Howlett
and Tom Kenworthy. Contributing: The Associated Press. USA TODAY
Sgt. Troy Jenkins
Troy Jenkins told his father he planned to get out of the military because he felt
his luck was running out. Nevertheless, he made a courageous, split-second decision April 19 that ended his life but saved
those of a 7-year-old girl and several soldiers in his 187th Infantry Regiment.
Jenkins, 25, was critically wounded when an Iraqi child approached a group of soldiers
with an unexploded cluster bomb. As the bomb went off, Jenkins threw himself over it. He
was transported to Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany and died Thursday.
''The boys in his outfit called me and said he deserves the congressional Medal (of
Honor),'' said his father, Jack Jenkins of Turkey Creek, La. He said one soldier from his son's outfit explained Troy's actions
this way: ''If you were standing in a store and there was a guy in there with a hand grenade, which way would you run? Troy
ran forward, to save that little girl and to save his buddies.''
Jenkins grew up in Evergreen, Ala., the youngest of three children of divorced parents,
raised by their father. ''He loved music. He loved to roam the woods. And he loved to go fishing,'' his father said. ''He
was the kind of kid, if he had a problem, he'd take his radio out to the woods and try to think it out. He never got in any
trouble, and he never lied to me.''
When he graduated from high school in 1995, Jenkins had already joined the Marines.
He later joined the Army. Jenkins, who served in Afghanistan, was planning to
leave the service in July and wanted to join the California Highway Patrol. He didn't want to leave his wife and two children,
ages 4 and 2, alone again. ''I think he had a premonition,'' his father said.
His wife, Amanda Jenkins, said the circumstances of his death were not surprising.
''He didn't have a selfish bone in his body. He was always thinking of other people first.''