Friday, July 02, 2010

Army Sgt. Johnny W. Lumpkin

Remember Our Heroes

Army Sgt. Johnny W. Lumpkin, 38, of Columbus, Ga.

Sgt. Lumpkin was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 41st Field Artillery Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, Fort Stewart, Ga.; died July 2, 2010 in Balad, Iraq, of wounds sustained July 1 in a non-combat-related equipment incident in Taji, Iraq.

This Fourth of July weekend wasn't the same for Janice and Wayne Lumpkin. Their son, 38 year-old Sergeant Johnny Wayne Lumpkin died in Iraq. Janice Lumpkin said "he was our only son. He was in his second deployment to Iraq and he just called my husband Wednesday."

Lumpkin's father says his son was a good man with a good heart and should be remembered as a hero. Wayne Lumpkin said, "When his tower was collapsing he shoved the other guy to safety and took the brunt of the fall."

Though his son is gone, Wayne Lumpkin knows "he's in better place now... and it creates an even stronger image of what this Independence Day weekend really means. We feel like we're getting a signal from him, that he's with god."

Sgt. Johnny W. Lumpkin, 38, was seriously injured Thursday in Taji, Iraq, and died the next day in Balad, Iraq. Local family members said they were told Lumpkin had been disassembling equipment on a radar tower when the equipment fell on his head. Lumpkin suffered severe head trauma, 3 broken ribs and a collapsed lung, and was placed on a ventilator at the hospital. His mother said, "Friday morning my daughter in-law called and said he was gone."

Lumpkin had been assigned to the 1st Battalion, 41st Field Artillery Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, at Fort Stewart, Ga., when he left for his second tour in Iraq at the end of March.

Lumpkin leaves behind his wife of nine years, Carol, two teenage stepchildren and a 19-year-old son, Brandon Eric Welch.

The Columbus native attended Jordan High School, where he graduated in 1989. For years, he worked at the Columbus Carpet Mill and then for a local cable company. He was 31-years-old when he decided to enlist in the Army.

“He was having a hard time finding a job,” said his mother, Jan Lumpkin, who lives in Columbus.

“He wanted to support his family. He wanted a career.”

Because he was older than many of the other first-time enlistees, his fellow soldiers gave him the nickname “Private Paw-Paw,” said Lumpkin’s uncle, David “Ed” Ray.

“Johnny very much had a sense of humor,” Ray said. “When he walked into the room, the room lit up.”

Jan Lumpkin said she would miss talking to her son, who would call once or twice a week from Iraq. She said the last time he called was Wednesday. He had told his father, Wayne, to tell his mom he loved her and would call again this weekend.

Army Sgt. Johnny W. Lumpkin was killed in a non-combat related incident on 7/2/10.

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