Screaming Eagles Through Time
Sgt. Leonard D. Simmons


New Bern, North Carolina
Died August 6, 2003

Sergeant dies of heart attack

By Thomas McDonald, Staff Writer, Raleigh News Observer, Raleigh, NC

RALEIGH -- Two soldiers, one from Fort Bragg and the other a North Carolina native, died this week in Iraq, the Defense Department said Friday.

Sgt. Leonard D. Simmons, 33, of New Bern died Wednesday in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul after suffering a heart attack, the Pentagon said.

Simmons, a veteran of the 1991 Persian Gulf War, was assigned to C Company, 3rd Battalion, 502nd Infantry Regiment, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) out of Fort Campbell, Ky.

Simmons entered the Army in July 1990 and was stationed at Fort Campbell in March.

Simmons had been married for little more than a year and was deployed to Iraq three days before his June 1 wedding anniversary, said his wife, Rosie Simmons. She lives in Clarksville, Tenn., with the couple's three children, two boys ages 14 and 13 and a 6-year-old girl.

Simmons' wife described him as a "joyful and playful," hard-working family man.

"I was fortunate," she said by phone Friday. "I got to hear from him at least two or three times a week."

During their phone conversations, Leonard Simmons didn't talk about his duties save for the weather in Iraq, his widow said. Instead he wanted to know how his wife, a native of the West Coast, was adjusting to Clarksville.

Simmons is a graduate of West Craven High School in New Bern. In addition to his wife and stepchildren, he is survived by his parents, three brothers and a sister.

The New Bern man did not have a history of heart problems, said Simmons' wife, who added she was surprised by the cause of death.

"But I'm not aware of the situation over there, and I'm not sure how he was doing physically," she said. Simmons will be honored at a memorial service in Iraq, the Army said. His death is under investigation.