An Army colonel at Fort Lee who had been sent three times to war died four days after a car fell on him while he was helping a stranded motorist change a tire.
Col. Gregory S. Townsend, commander of the 23rd Quartermaster Brigade at the U.S. Army Quartermaster School at Fort Lee, died Monday, according to a statement from the school. He was 46.
“The loss of Col. Greg Townsend is devastating for his family and the Army. He was a dedicated leader and the most genuine man you could meet,” said Brig. Gen. Douglas M. McBride Jr., 55th quartermaster general and commandant of the Quartermaster School. “Our thoughts and prayers are with Greg’s family and friends during this very difficult time. His legacy as a servant leader will live on in the hearts and minds of all soldiers that he has served with and led.”
Last Thursday, Townsend was driving on U.S. 460 in Sussex County when he stopped to help change a tire. As he was finishing, the vehicle fell on him, the school said. He was flown by helicopter to VCU Medical Center in Richmond, where he received treatment until he died, the school said.
Townsend’s home of record is in Alabama but he was living in Chesapeake at the time of his death, an Army spokeswoman said. He commuted daily to Fort Lee.
Townsend joined the Army on May 18, 1996, after graduating from Auburn University and receiving a commission through ROTC into the Quartermaster Corps. He was deployed twice to Iraq, first in February 2003 and again in August 2009, and once to Afghanistan in October 2009. He arrived at Fort Lee on July 28, 2017, and assumed command of the brigade, the school said.
His awards and decorations include the Defense Superior Service Medal, the Bronze Star Medal with two oak-leaf clusters, the Meritorious Service Medal with three oak-leaf clusters, the Joint Staff Commendation Medal, and an Army Commendation Medal.