High Desert Memories - A Hometown Journal Commemorating Ridgecrest California
In memory of a local hero
  Sgt. Troy Jenkins
  By The Daily Independent Staff

The Department of Defense announced Friday that it had changed the status of Army Sgt. Troy David Jenkins, 25, from "wounded in action" to "died of wounds received in action" during Operation Iraqi Freedom. Sgt. Jenkins was remembered Friday as a hero.

Jenkins claimed Ridgecrest as his adopted home town.

According to a Pentagon news release, Sgt. Jenkins was on a dismounted patrol with other soldiers on April 19, when a young Iraqi girl put herself in grave danger trying to turn over a piece of unexploded ordinance from a cluster bomb.

Sgt. Jenkins saw the danger and threw himself on top of the explosive, saving the lives of other Iraqi children and fellow soldiers standing nearby.

Sgt. Jenkins lost a leg and several fingers as a result of the blast, but more serious complications from infection were to follow.

Sgt. Jenkins died Thursday from his injuries. Jenkins, of Conecuh County Ala., began his military service when he joined the U.S. Marines at the age of 17, after graduating from Hillcrest High School in Evergreen, Ala., in 1995.

After a four-year enlistment in the Marines, Sgt. Jenkins joined the U.S. Army, and pursued airborne training, which eventually placed him with the 101st Airborne Division.


Sgt. Jenkins was no stranger to the risks of war. Two years ago, he earned a Purple Heart while fighting in Afghanistan after being wounded in the leg.

The 25-year-old was assigned to B Company, 3rd Battalion, 187th Infantry Regiment, Fort Campbell, Ky. Jenkins was married to wife, Amanda, a California resident, and was the father of two sons, 4-year-old Tristan and 2-year-old Brandon.

Following Jenkins death, his mother said, "He's a hero -- A 100 percent hero."
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Editor's note: The information for this story was developed from a Department of Defense press release, and information from MSNBC- affiliate TV station KGET,

channel 17, in Bakersfield.
BY RUTH JUSTIS/The Daily Independent

The family of Army Sgt. Troy Jenkins is still reeling from the notice of his death, but they are also closing ranks in support of each other.

According to a Pentagon news release, Jenkins threw himself on top of a piece of unexploded ordnance to save the lives of some Iraqi children and fellow soldiers standing nearby. He lost a leg and several fingers in the blast, and ultimately lost his life from complications due to infection.

"Troy was a true soldier," said his wife Amanda in a telephone interview from her home in 29 Palms.

"He was a real hero. What he did showed who he really was. He always put others before himself. He was a wonderful husband and father.

"My family is what ties Troy to Ridgecrest," said Amanda.

"Troy was a grandson to my grandparents."

Amanda lived several years in Ridgecrest with her grandparents, Willard Carver Darnell and his wife Jerry. The Darnells are members of the Church of Christ, where Willard serves as an elder. Willard works at the Senior Center and Jerry works at the Child Care Center at China Lake. They have lived in Ridgecrest 14 years.

Amanda attended Las Flores Elementary School and seventh grade at Monroe Middle School before leaving the area. Other family members include Roe and Donna Darnell, who are her aunt and uncle.

Roe is a former president at Cerro Coso Community College and Donna is a former mayor of Ridgecrest.

According to Donna, Troy and Amanda were in Ridgecrest when he enlisted in the Army.

"He finished a four-year tour with the Marine Corps and enlisted the next day in the Army," said Amanda.

"He wanted to serve his country in the military."


"These are tough times," said Donna.

"They are a very religious family, and it helps to know they will all be back together some day. It is particularly touching that he died to save the life of a child. There's some small measure of comfort in that. He was an incredible father to his own two boys.

"He loved being in the Army and serving his country, but he was also wanted to become a CHP officer when he finished his tour of duty. He was an incredible young man, a wonderful personality who was always smiling," said Donna.

Jenkins received a Purple Heart two years ago, while fighting in Afghanistan, after being wounded in the leg.

Honors

"I would like to see him receive the Congressional Medal of Honor, and would appreciate any help in contacting the officials who can make it happen," said Amanda.

Jenkins leaves two sons -- Tristan, 4, and Brandon, 2.