A telephone call Tuesday from Iraq to a soldier's mother summed up everything about Staff Sergeant Richard Pummill's life.
Pummill called his mother Lynn Pummill on Tuesday from a satellite phone in Iraq to make sure that everything was alright. "He was always concerned with what was happening here with his family," said the soldier's mother. She continued, "that's the way he always was."
On Thursday, Pummill and two other Marines in the 2nd Battalion, 2nd Marines were killed when the Humvee they were riding in was destroyed by a roadside bomb near Nassar Wa Salaam, Iraq.
Richard Pummill was always thinking of his family. He was a father of a three year old son from a first marriage who lives with the boy's mother in Norfolk, Virginia. He also left behind a wife who still lives in North Carolina near Camp Lejune, the Marine base that Pummill was deployed from.
He was a weapons specialist of the 2nd Battalion, 2nd Marines division. "He loved being a Marine, he had it flowing through his veins." said his mother.
Pummill's childhood friend John Morgan Jr. was at Lynn Pummill's apartment along with Patsy Hager. They were both providing support to a mother of a fallen soldier who got very little sleep. They had pulled out photographs, new and old, of Sergeant. Pummill, his wife and his son Cliff.
Scattered on the living room table were pictures of a young man in school, Pummill's graduation day from Marine boot camp. "He was one of the last classes of tough Marines", said Hager speaking of the changes the Marines have instituted for their basic training camp at Paris Island, South Carolina. Other pictures were taken more recently of Pummill while out in the desert in Iraq.
"I keep thinking that it is a mistake"
Lynn Pummill was holding several pieces of paper with her son's death announcement on it that the Marines gave her after notifying her that her son had been killed. "I keep waiting for them to come to my door, to tell me it was a mistake," she said "but Marines don't make mistakes."
John Morgan, was holding a key chain with a dog tag attached to it. He kept rubbing it and looking at it as if it were providing memories of gone by days. "He gave this to me when he graduated boot camp." Morgan said of the dog tag, "he said he wanted me to have it, man I'll never forget that." Morgan also spoke of times when he would laze around and Pummill would always getting him off of the couch and outside. "I remember one time when I was laying on the couch, he came in and he actually kissed me...on the face," Morgan said grimacing, "I chased him all over, it freaked me out, but he got me out...he was always a go getter keeping me active." Pummill's friend of 23 years then remembered the last time he saw Pummill before he was deployed to Iraq. "He said I love ya man," Morgan said letting those last words soak in.
Pummill was a recruiter for the Marines before being deployed on July 14th. His mother said the Anderson High School graduate hated standing on the sidelines saying he wanted to be part of the action. That desire to be in the middle of the action stayed with him from his high school days when he was a football player and a wrestler. "He was a stout guy, he was really strong." remembered Morgan.
Anderson High School held a moment of silence last night during their football game for its fallen graduate.
Funeral services have not been finalized.