Md. reservist dies from injuries suffered in Iraq roadside bombing

Staff sergeant, 37, worked as Jessup boot camp instructor

October 08, 2004|By Reginald Fields | Reginald Fields,SUN STAFF

A Maryland correctional boot camp instructor serving as an Army reservist in Iraq died this week of injuries he sustained when the convoy truck he was riding in hit a roadside bomb in Fallujah, according to the Department of Defense and his family.

Staff Sgt. James L. Pettaway, Jr., 37, whose last known address was Glen Burnie, was a motor transport operator and was injured in Fallujah on Aug. 27, Pettaway's family and military officials said.

Pettaway, who was a member of the Reserve's 223rd Transportation Company based in Norristown, Pa., died of his injuries Sunday at Brooke Army Medical Center at Fort Sam Houston, Texas, a Defense Department news release stated.

Another soldier also died in the attack.

Pettaway, a native of Long Island, N.Y., was a drill instructor at Herman L. Toulson Correctional Boot Camp in Jessup, which houses 300 adult felons serving sentences for nonviolent offenses, according to a spokesman for the Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services.

"He was concerned about inmates' lives, and he often did extra things - like going to their graduation or volunteering for extra duty - to demonstrate it," Maj. Carroll Parish, Pettaway's job supervisor, told Newsday.

Parish said Pettaway went to Iraq because "he wanted to serve his country." Pettaway enjoyed his job at the camp, Parish said, because it is patterned after military procedures and he felt the military had a positive influence on his life.

The public safety department has announced it will send its honor guard to Pettaway's funeral tomorrow in Bridgehampton, N.Y.

Pettaway, a divorced father of an 11-year-old son, was on his second tour in Iraq.

The 223rd Transportation Company was deployed from Fort Drum, N.Y., in late July and Pettaway had been in Iraq for less than a month when the fatal bombing occurred.

"He really didn't want to go back this time," James Pettaway Sr., Pettaway's father, told Newsday.

The 223rd Transportation Company maintains and operates trucks and buses used to transport troops, water, fuel and supplies over long hauls and rough terrain.

Newsday, a Tribune Publishing newspaper, contributed to this article.

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