Cory J Jenkins
August 25, 2009
Killed in southern Afghanistan, when enemy forces attacked their vehicle with an improvised explosive device.
|Leaves behind 9-week-old daughter
By Jim Walsh
The Arizona Republic via Gannett News Service
Cory Jenkins didn’t have to join the Army and serve in Afghanistan.
Jenkins, 28, a graduate of Brigham Young University and A.T. Still University’s physician’s-assistant program, had offers for a much safer job in the private sector.
But his father, Stanley Jenkins, 60, of Mesa, said his son chose the Army to gain intense experience treating trauma injuries. It was a choice that cost Cory Jenkins his life on Tuesday.
Capt. Cory Jenkins, the father of a 9-week-old daughter, was killed along with three other men when their Stryker armored vehicle was hit by an improvised explosive device.
“He wanted to be in trauma. He said, ‘You can’t get any better experience than in the military,’ ” Stanley Jenkins recalled Thursday afternoon in front of his home.
Jenkins said he is glad that his son at least got to know his daughter, Reagan, for a month. His wife, Brooke, gave birth a month before Jenkins deployed.
“They postponed the deployment. Fortunately, he was here when she was born” at Fort Lewis, Wash., Stanley Jenkins said.
As a physician’s assistant, his son would have normally worked at a MASH unit. The family doesn’t understand why Cory Jenkins was in the field instead, but they plan to ask an Army casualty assistance officer for an explanation.
“That’s why we were feeling safe,” Stanley Jenkins said. “He should have been out of harm’s way.”
He said his son always was interested in joining the military and thought he was doing the right thing by helping injured soldiers in Afghanistan.
But his son’s choice always worried him as a father.
“We didn’t encourage him,” Stanley Jenkins said.
On Thursday afternoon, Stanley Jenkins and his cousin, Chuck Jenkins, 62, stood on their quiet east Mesa street lined with American flags as neighbors demonstrated their support. A flag on the Jenkins’ front lawn bore a black sash, a traditional honor for a fallen soldier.
“He was the most comfortable person I knew with himself. He knew who he was,” Chuck Jenkins said. “He was comfortable being him.”
Before joining the military, Cory Jenkins had served as a Scoutmaster. He also was an Eagle Scout. His family said he had a great sense of humor, and kids especially loved to be around him.
“Cory was so much fun to be around,” Chuck Jenkins said. “He could take any situation and make fun.”
Because Chuck Jenkins served in Vietnam, Cory would often ask him what it was like to serve in the military.
“I didn’t encourage him, I didn’t discourage him,” Chuck Jenkins said. “I answered his questions.”
Cory Jenkins, a runner and volleyball player, “was the epitome of military,” standing straight in uniform, Chuck Jenkins said. “He was proud.”
No information on services was available.
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