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Army Staff Sgt. Damion G. Campbell

Died August 26, 2005 Serving During Operation Enduring Freedom

23, of Baltimore; assigned to the 1st Battalion, 508th Infantry Regiment, Vicenza, Italy; killed Aug. 26 when an improvised explosive device detonated near his Humvee during a combat patrol in Khayr Kot, Afghanistan.

Baltimore soldier killed in Afghanistan

They traveled the same path, went to the same high school, participated in JROTC, enlisted in the Army and within two weeks became Baltimore’s latest casualties of war.

Staff Sgt. Damion Garland Campbell, 23, of Baltimore, was killed in Khayr Kot, Afghanistan, when a bomb exploded near his vehicle during combat patrol.

Campbell graduated from Forest Park High School in 2000, as did Army Spc. Toccara Green, 23, of Rosedale, who was killed Aug. 14 in Iraq.

They were described as leaders, outgoing, fun-loving and competitive by those who knew them.

Loretta Breese, Forest Park High School principal, was at the school Sunday evening getting ready for the first day of classes when she got a call from her sister-in-law telling her she lost another student.

“I just went limp. I just could not believe this,” said Breese, who has been the principal for 12 years and remembers both students very well. “I became really emotionally ill. I said to myself I really didn’t want to start the school year like this.

“They were leaders, who were able to take risks and meet the challenges,” she said.

Though both followed a similar path, Breese said they were both two different people.

“Toccara was very aggressive and outgoing,” she said. “Damion was very mild-tempered and sophisticated.”

Col. Franklin W. Collins, retired JROTC instructor at Forest Park High School, said Campbell and Green died doing what they always wanted to do.

“It’s devastating. They were two of the nicest and most competitive students I’ve ever gotten to know,” said Collins, who taught both for four years. “You pray that nothing happens to anyone in the war, but it’s only when it hits home when we see the true face of the war up close and personal.”

He remembers both as being popular and well-respected.

“As they became the senior leaders, they became role models and helped lead other youngsters,” said Collins, who spoke at Green’s funeral and plans to attend Campbell’s. “I hope this is the last one. You don’t expect to outlive these youngsters.”

Campbell was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 508th Infantry Regiment, in Vicenza, Italy.

He was born in Jamaica, his mother, Donna Robinson said. He was in the Boy Scouts and later joined JROTC in high school.

“The Army was his passion. It was all he wanted to do,” she said. “He was outgoing, fun-loving and joyful person.”

Campbell had not been home for nearly a year. He was planning to go to Jamaica for a couple of weeks in August, but it didn’t work out, according to his mother.

She said her last time communicating with her son was by e-mail the day before his death. His 11-year-old brother, Nicholas, wanted a video game console, and Damion sent him $100 to get the popular hand held video game system.

His father, Yandell Campbell, works as a police officer in Jamaica, said his aunt Barbara Robinson-Dawkins, aunt.

Campbell’s family in Baltimore learned of his death Friday from his father, who was contacted by the Army, according to family members. They contacted Campbell’s girlfriend, Viola, in Germany on Sunday. His mother said they met while he was doing training and were once engaged.

“I have no bad feelings about the army,” said his mother. “He was happy, very energetic and just enjoyed life. My child loved the Army.”

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