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Scottsboro native dies of heart attack in Baghdad

SCOTTSBORO (AP) — A Scottsboro native died from an apparent heart attack while working out with his Army unit in Iraq, according to the soldier’s mother.

The military had confirmed earlier that Command Sgt. Maj. Jonathan Miles Lankford, 42, died Saturday in Baghdad.

Lankford’s mother, Mary Jo Lankford, said that she believes the stress from leading a company of soldiers in the Iraq war may have led to her son’s death.

Lankford leaves behind his wife, Cheryl, and their 2-year-old son, Jonathan “Jon” Miles Jr. They live at Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio, Texas, where Lankford’s unit, the 79th Ordnance Battalion, is based.

To come home January

Lankford served as command sergeant major of the battalion, which is an explosive ordnance disposal support group. He and his unit were deployed about a year ago and were scheduled to return home in January.

“When I saw him off in October 2006 I just told him to be careful and ‘I’ll see you when you come home,’ ” the soldier’s mother said. “Now, all we have are fond memories of him. But that’s what we’re going to cling to.”

She said her daughter-in-law was trying to make arrangements for burial at Arlington National Cemetery.

Copyright 2005 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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