Sunday, July 24, 2005

Army Sgt. James O. Kinlow

Remember Our Heroes

Army Sgt. James O. Kinlow, 35, of Thomson, Georgia.

Sgt Kinlow died in Baghdad, Iraq, when an improvised explosive device detonated near his HMMWV while he was on patrol. He was assigned to the Army National Guard's 2nd Battalion, 121st Infantry Regiment, 48th Infantry Brigade, Albany, Georgia.

Daphanie Kinlow’s eyes rimmed with tears as she looked at the sheets of notebook paper folded neatly in her lap. It was her husband’s handwriting. Seven months before, she recalled, he had summoned her and their two children into the bedroom. “Daddy wants to show y’all something,” he said.

Her husband was a member of the Georgia Army National Guard and was about to be mobilized for duty in Iraq. Ever the practical father, he had written out his own obituary and wanted to talk about final arrangements in case he didn’t come home.

“If two men in military uniforms ever come looking for you,” he warned his wife, “I’m gone. I’m dead.”

On Monday morning, they came.

Daphanie Kinlow was standing at a fax machine in the McDuffie County school offices, where she works as payroll manager, when two men in Army dress uniforms walked up and asked if they could speak to her privately.

Her husband, Sgt. James O. Kinlow, a 35-year-old truck driver in civilian life, had been killed the night before by a bomb as he drove a Humvee on patrol outside Baghdad.

Daphanie felt a sickening sense of deja vu as she remembered that day when her husband gathered the family for a talk that upset her and their children, 15-year-old Chauncey and 10-year-old Chelsea.

“It was almost as if he knew what was going to happen,” she said Wednesday, as she sat in the living room of their tidy brick home in this east Georgia town near Augusta. She was surrounded by relatives, friends and co-workers, so many of them at times that some of the young ones had to sit on the shag carpet.

An image of her husband in desert fatigues stared out from a computer screen on one side of the room. He looked younger than his years. On the other side of the room, T.D. Jakes preached from a muted TV. Daphanie noticed the religious program and smiled. “I gave James his [Jakes’] latest book for his last birthday.”

Army Sgt James O. Kinlow was killed in action on 07/24/05.

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