Fort Lee officer killed while helping stranded driver remembered as ‘genuine’

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Col. Gregory S. Townsend_1556165667397.jpg.jpg

FORT LEE, Va. (WRIC) — A Fort Lee officer who was injured after helping a stranded driver last week has died, the Army said on Wednesday.  

Col. Gregory S. Townsend, commander, 23rd Quartermaster Brigade, U.S. Army Quartermaster School, was driving on Route 460 on Thursday when he stopped to help a driver change a tire. As he finished changing the tire, the vehicle fell on him, according to a Fort Lee spokesperson. 

Townsend, 45, was taken by helicopter to VCU Medical Center, where he died four days later. 

“The most genuine individual you could meet and he gave you the shirt off his back if he could,” Dani Johnson, a public affairs spokesperson for Ft. Lee, said. “He lost his life helping another person. It’s tragic, but he would have done that regardless.

“Colonel Greg Townsend was an outstanding individual and a great Army officer.”

Townsend came into the Army on May 18, 1996, after graduating from Auburn University and was commissioned through ROTC into the Quartermaster Corps. He deployed twice to Iraq and once to Afghanistan. He arrived at Fort Lee on July 28, 2017, and assumed command of the 23rd Quartermaster Brigade, where he was in charge of training soldiers.

Johnson got the impression that Townsend “is honestly caring and he put his people first over the mission and because of that, the mission got done because his soldiers knew he cared.”

“He’d give you the shirt off his back if he could,” Johnson added. “He lost his life helping another person. It’s tragic, but he would have done that regardless.”

His awards and decorations include the Defense Superior Service Medal, Bronze Star Medal with two Oak Leaf Clusters, Meritorious Service Medal with three Oak Leaf Clusters, Joint Staff Commendation Medal and Army Commendation Medal.

“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, 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.”

“We are devasted,” Johnson said. “And our hearts go out to our family and friends at this time.” 

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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