EVERTON, AR, USA U.S. Army SPC, C BATTERY, 1ST BATTALION, 142D FIELD ARTILLERY, NORTH LITTLE ROCK, AR BAGHDAD, IRAQ 07/20/2006
Derek J. Plowman wanted to be a psychologist and joined the National Guard his senior year of high school to earn money for college. He knew the risks.
He’d just gotten back from basic training when I called him in my office and told him the unit was being mobilized, said Guard Sgt. 1st Class Bill Boswell. He looked me straight in the eye and said, ‘That’s OK. I signed on the dotted line, and I’ve got a job to do.’
Plowman, 20, of Everton, Ark., died July 20 in Baghdad from a gunshot wound; the incident is under investigation. He graduated from high school in 2004 and was assigned to Rogers.
While in high school, Plowman was in the German Club, the Drama Club, the Key Club and other organizations. He had dark hair and a smile that wouldn’t quit, Boswell said. He did whatever he could do to be involved with people, said his stepfather, Andrew Campbell. He never made it about Derek. It was about what he could do for them.
The family says that Derek Plowman was home in Everton just a few weeks ago. The emotion from their loss is still raw, but they managed to share a few of their thoughts with us.
Derek joined the Army National Guard his senior year of high school. His family wants Derek’s story told, but say it’s too painful to go on camera so soon. However, they are sharing some of their thoughts through email.
“If I had to describe Derek with one word it would be compassion. He loved everyone, never met a stranger and if he could help then he would.”
Derek Plowman was a Private First Class in the Battery C, 1st Battalion, 142nd Fires Brigade based in Rogers. He was one of nearly 100 soldiers deployed last December to serve in Operation Iraqi Freedom. His death is being felt nationwide.
“The ripples go throughout the organization. Everyone feels saddened by this situation,” said Major Keith Moore of the Air National Guard.
The brigade was in Baghdad on security detail when the Army National Guard says Derek was shot.
“They were performing security operation, of course the area there where they are located is a hot zone,” said the Major.
His family says Derek wanted to serve his country and also wanted to join to be able to go to college.
“He was going to major in psychology. Derek always put everyone before himself. He was a very caring and unselfish person.”
Derek is survived by his mother, Kim Campbell, and father, Donald.