River View graduate recovering in Baghdad (Iraq)

COSHOCTON - It's been two weeks since two landmines destroyed the vehicle in which Spc. Jonathan Atwood and two fellow U.S. Army soldiers were riding in during a tour of duty in Iraq. The 2000 River View High School graduate sustained head and facial injuries and a fractured left knee as a result of the accident.


"I am expected to make a full recovery soon," Atwood said in an e-mail to the Coshocton Tirbune.
He's serving with Delta Company out of Fort Hood, Texas, and is attached to the 2nd Infantry Division from Fort Lewis, Washington.

On Feb. 5, Atwood and two close friends, Sgt. Danny Delcastillo and Pvt. 2 Olien Tsinnijinnie were in a M1114 (an up-armored Humvee) in southern Baghdad when they ran over two 130 millimeter artillery rounds buried in the railroad tracks.
"It was command detonated. I was ejected out of the top of the truck because I was the gunner manning an M240B machine gun," Atwood said in the message.
Atwood was able to return to his unit that same day and was on bed rest. He had to go back to the hospital Feb. 17 through Feb. 19 for more tests and X-rays, returning to his unit Monday.

His mother, Trecia Atwood, said Jonathan is more fortunate than the other two passengers in the Jeep.
"He said something told him to stand up when they went over the railroad tracks," Trecia said. "It blew him out through the roof of the vehicle. When a second bomb went off, the motor was blown inside the vehicle and landed where he was sitting. It could have cut his legs off."

Delcastillo and Tsinnijinnie both received severe leg injuries, but are back in the states and will get to keep their legs, Atwood said.

He enlisted in the Army the first time in June 2000, and was stationed in Baumholder, Germany from November 2001 to November 2004. His first deployment to Iraq was from April 2003 to July 2004, in the Green Zone with the 2nd Brigade 1st Armor Division.

After leaving the Army and graduating from the Police Academy in Orrville, in March 2005, he decided to reenlist in January 2006.

Atwood left the states Oct. 20, 2006. He's supposed to get a little break next month and come home for the birth of his first child with wife Haylee Nixon Atwood, also a River View graduate. "I hate him being gone, but I'm proud of what he's doing," Haylee said.The Atwoods are expecting a daughter around March 22. Jonathan has a son, Drake Atwood, 11.

The couple purchased a house in Texas after their marriage, but when Haylee found out she was expecting and he was going overseas, she wanted to return to Coshocton County and be among family and friends.

Atwood sees the career as a way to invest in his families future, and enjoys the opportunities the Army has given him, he said.
It's been a stressful time for the family, but Haylee said she understands her husband's motivation for serving his country.
"It's just something he's always liked to do," she said. "He likes making a difference."

Von: 21.02.2007 www.coshoctontribune.com By KATHIE DICKERSON

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