Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Army Spc. Joshua A. Tomlinson

Remember Our Heroes

Army Spc. Joshua A. Tomlinson, 24, of Dubberly, La.

Spc. Tomlinson was assigned to Special Troops Battalion, V Corps, Heidelberg, Germany; died May 18, 2010 in Kabul, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered in a suicide car bombing. Also killed were Col. John M. McHugh, Lt. Col. Paul R. Bartz, Lt. Col. Thomas P. Belkofer, and Staff Sgt. Richard J. Tieman.

Tomlinson, son of Carl Tomlinson, of Dubberly, and a 2004 graduate of Lakeside High in Sibley, was remembered by best friend George Thornton as "someone who always had a smile on his face, and if you didn't have one on yours he'd make sure you got a smile."

"He was a world-class person, a stand-up guy," Thornton said, recalling how a year or so after graduation Tomlinson surprised everyone by announcing he was joining the Army and soon would be leaving for basic training. Thornton said he was Tomlinson's friend since the sixth grade.

Lakeside Principal Beverly Smith remembered Tomlinson as a bright, friendly student not overly involved in extracurricular activities but who "was a popular student and well-liked." Counselor Ann Holomon recalled Tomlinson as artistic and creative. "Josh was a young man who was always happy, always smiling, with just a great sense of humor," said Holomon, who was a math teacher when Tomlinson was at Lakeside. "He was a smart young man: He went to the state literary rally his senior year. He was a top accelerated reader, and was student of the month one of the years he was in school. "He joined the military to make something of himself and I'm real proud of him. He's a hero."

Beverly Smith, who went to school with Tomlinson's mother, Rebecca Adams, said staffers reminisced about Tomlinson, the school's first loss in the Global War on Terror, after learning of his death.

Tomlinson was married, and his wife, Rowena Cruz Tomlinson, accompanied him to Germany on this tour, Thornton said.

"I'll always remember him as being a hero for what he did," Spc Joshua Tomlinson's brother Carl shared. "The last time I saw him I said, 'You better come back in one piece.' He gave me a hug and said, 'I will, man. I'll be back, bro.'"

Carl Tomlinson said his younger brother was a talented artist and musician who loved to go fishing with their father.

Army Colonel James Jinnette, who served with Spc. Tomlinson in Kabul, said that Spc. Tomlinson would often speak lovingly of his wife, and of the importance of duty to one's country. "Spc. Tomlinson was an excellent soldier who loved serving his nation as he loved his family. He was a highly skilled leader who represented the best America can offer. He was proud of his service, and we are proud of the way he conducted his profession here in Kabul as he escorted our highest-ranking officers and visitors with utmost discipline. He will be missed in our headquarters here in Kabul."

Spc. Tomlinson had been in Afghanistan for about eight months as a combat driver and an air defense artilleryman for Headquarters Support Group, International Security Assistance Force Joint Command in Kabul. He was assigned to Special Troops Battalion, V Corps in Heidelberg, Germany. This was his first deployment. Spc. Tomlinson was due to return home to Louisiana in July.

The magnificent Patriot Guard Riders have Spc. Tomlinson on their Watch List, where messages of love and support are being left for the Tomlinson family.

Tomlinson's father and his widow were headed to Dover Air Force Base in Delaware, where the fallen soldiers are being returned. They will accompany his remains to Webster Parish, where services are pending. They are expected to return on Friday.

Army Spc. Joshua A. Tomlinson was killed in action on 5/18/10.

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