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Army Command Sgt. Maj. Jonathan M. Lankford

Died September 22, 2007 Serving During Operation Iraqi Freedom

42, of Scottsboro, Ala.; assigned to the 79th Ordnance Battalion, Fort Sam Houston, Texas; died Sept. 22 in Baghdad of injuries sustained in a non-combat-related incident.

Scottsboro native dies of heart attack in Iraq

The Associated Press

SCOTTSBORO, Ala. — A Scottsboro native died from an apparent heart attack while working out with his Army unit in Iraq, according to the soldier’s mother.

The military had confirmed earlier that Command Sgt. Maj. Jonathan Miles Lankford, 42, died Sept. 22 in Baghdad.

Lankford’s mother, Mary Jo Lankford, told The Huntsville Times in a story Sept. 25 that she believes the stress from leading a company of soldiers in the Iraq war may have led to her son’s death.

Lankford leaves behind his wife, Cheryl, and their 2-year-old son, Jonathan “Jon” Miles Jr. They live at Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio, where Lankford’s unit, the 79th Ordnance Battalion, is based.

Lankford served as command sergeant major of the battalion, which is an explosive ordnance disposal support group. He and his unit were deployed about a year ago and were scheduled to return home in January.

“When I saw him off in October 2006, I just told him to be careful and ‘I’ll see you when you come home,’” the soldier’s mother said. “Now, all we have are fond memories of him. But that’s what we’re going to cling to.”

She said her daughter-in-law was trying to make arrangements for burial at Arlington National Cemetery.

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