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Army hero killed while helping stranded driver along Virginia highway

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FORT LEE, Va. -- A decorated military veteran was killed after stopping on a Virginia highway to help a stranger change a flat tire on April 18, according to a Fort Lee spokesperson.

Col. Gregory Townsend, commander of the 23rd Quartermaster Brigade at the U.S. Army Quartermaster School, died Monday.

"As he finished changing the tire, the vehicle fell on him," Fort Lee spokesperson Dani Johnson said. "He was taken by a life flight helicopter to VCU Critical Care Hospital, Richmond, Virginia, where he received treatment until his death."

The incident on Route 460 happened April 18.

"The loss of Col. Greg Townsend is devastating for his family and the Army," Brig. Gen. Douglas M. McBride Jr., 55th Quartermaster General and commandant at the Quartermaster School.

Townsend, an Auburn University graduate, joined the Army in May 1996.

The 46-year-old served two tours in Iraq (February 2003 – February 2004 and August 2009 – August 2010) and one in Afghanistan (October 2009 – January 2010). He arrived at Fort Lee in July 2017 where he assumed command of the brigade.

"He was a dedicated leader and the most genuine man you could meet," Brig. Gen. McBride Jr. said. "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."

During his time in the military, Townsend was awarded 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.

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