A third Utahn serving in the Persian Gulf has been killed, when the truck in which he was riding went off the road and rolled somewhere in Saudi Arabia, military officials and the soldier's family said.
Jeffrey Rollins, a supply sergeant with the 307th Medical Battalion, 82nd Airborne, died Thursday, his father, Bob, said from his home in Monroe, Sevier County.The 23-year-old Rollins leaves a wife, Sheila, 22, and 1-year-old son Benjamin. They live in Fort Bragg, N.C. He has two sisters who live in Bountiful and West Bountiful.
"I supported him, and he was a good soldier," said the elder Rollins, 45, a veteran of the Army's 9th Infantry Division who served in Vietnam in 1968.
He was notified of his son's death at about 5 a.m. Friday by his daughter-in-law, who called from North Carolina. A warrant officer from Salt Lake City came to the Rollins home later that morning.
Rollins said his son wasn't driving the truck when it rolled. "The truck went off the shoulder and he was killed and the driver wasn't," said Bob Rollins.
The elder Rollins said it didn't matter how his son was killed, only that he was serving a just cause. "I don't think it makes any difference. He had a job and mission to do and he was doing it.
"That stuff can happen," he said. "He was over there for the same cause."
Just before deployment to Saudi Arabia in September, Jeffrey Rollins had been accepted to train with the Army's elite paratroop jumping team, the Golden Knights, his father said.
"He loved to jump . . . he was tickled to be selected."
Jeffrey Rollins was born in Milford just before his father joined the Army. He grew up in West Bountiful, where he attended Viewmont High School, and he followed in his father's footsteps by joining the Army in 1985.
One of his best friends is serving in the Air Force in the Persian Gulf and may escort the body home, Rollins said.
He was uncertain when the body would be returned to Utah but anticipated it would take up to 10 days.
Funeral services were tentatively scheduled in West Bountiful and burial in Milford, he said.
Marine Lance Cpl. Dion Stephenson was killed Jan. 29 in a ground battle near Khafji, Saudi Arabia, and was buried Monday in the Bountiful City Cemetery.
Capt. Michael Chinburg, an F-16 pilot stationed at Hill Air Force Base, was killed during a night training exercise nine days before the allied offensive began.