Robin L. Towns, Sr. – Staff Sergeant, United States Army

U.S. Department of Defense
Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Public Affairs)
News Release

October 26, 2007

DoD Identifies Army Casualty

The Department of Defense announced today the death of a soldier who was supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Staff Sergeant Robin L. Towns Sr., 52, of Upper Marlboro, Maryand, died October 24, 2007, in Bayji, Iraq, of wounds suffered when an improvised explosive device detonated near his Humvee during combat operations. He was assigned to the 275th Military Police Company, 372nd Military Police Battalion, Washington, D.C. National Guard.

1 November 2007

A Largo, Maryland, soldier killed October 24, 2007, in Iraq always put his soldiers before himself and was well-respected by the squads he led, soldiers who served under him said.

Staff Sergeant Robin L. Towns Sr., 52, died when an improvised explosive device detonated near his Humvee during combat operations in Bayji, a city about 150 miles northeast of Baghdad. He had been deployed for just nine days and planned on retiring after his tour of duty said friends.

‘‘His plan was when he got back to retire,” said Corporal Robert Brayboy of the 275th Military Police Company in which Towns had also served. ‘‘If he wasn’t working, he was on the phone with his spouse. She wanted to go on some vacations with him.”

Towns is survived by his wife of 10 years, Sheila Towns, and six adult children from both his and his wife’s previous marriages. Members of the family reached at Towns’ townhouse in Largo declined to comment.

According to the Iraq Coalition Casualty Count, a Web site that tracks the deaths of service members, Towns was the 3,837th American soldier to die in Iraq.

Towns was a member of the Maryland National Guard for 20 years and joined the D.C. National Guard in April 2006, according to the Department of Defense. Towns was assigned to the 275th Military Police Company and 372nd Military Police Battalion based in the District. Soldiers who worked alongside Towns praised him for his compassion.

‘‘Anytime there was something a soldier needed for a mission, he made sure they always had everything,” said Sgt. Sekeyna Taylor, who was in Towns’ squad while training at Camp Shelby, Mississipp. ‘‘He put his soldiers before himself.”

Taylor remembered a chaotic day when equipment was being dispersed. She said Towns was immediately able to calm anxious soldiers by checking with them to make sure they each received the right pieces of equipment.

Towns also was deeply religious, Taylor said. He belonged to the Sanctuary at Kingdom Square, a church in Seat Pleasant.

Brayboy said Towns was easy to get along with and ready to lend him an ear on a day he received bad news from home.

‘‘I was upset and he picked up on it before anyone else and just sat down and talked to me for a couple hours,” Brayboy said. ‘‘He helped me get my head back into what I had to do.”

Towns will be buried in Arlington National Cemetery, according to the Department of Defense.

D.C. Guardsman Killed After Nine Days in Iraq
Md. Man Loved Family and Football
By Hamil R. Harris
Courtesy of the Washington Post
Saturday, October 27, 2007

Besides his wife, Sheila, and their blended family of six children, there were few things that Staff Sergeant Robin L. Towns Sr. of Upper Marlboro, Maryand, loved more than entertaining, watching football and barbecuing.

He was known for his cookouts. During games between the Washington Redskins and the Philadelphia Eagles, Towns, 52, delighted in donning his Eagles jersey and serving guests his signature barbecued chicken and ribs. Family members and friends said they couldn't stand it when he rooted for the Eagles, but they loved his barbecue so much they never complained.


Towns died in Bayji, northwest of Baghdad, of injuries he suffered when an explosive device detonated near his Humvee during combat operations, according to Staff Sgt. Lorenzo Parnell, a spokesman for the D.C. National Guard. Parnell said Towns was the second member of the D.C. National Guard to die fighting in the Iraq war.

At a gathering yesterday at Sanctuary at Kingdom Square in Capitol Heights, family and friends remembered Towns, who had worked as a corrections officer from December to May, when he left for training. He also worked as a security guard and armored car driver for Dunbar Armored.

Jeff Logan, assistant chief of the Prince George's Department of Corrections, said that though he had been at the department for a short time, “he was on his way to be an asset to the department.”

His sister-in-law Joyce Wise said, “He was passionate about everything that he did.”

The Rev. Anthony Maclin, pastor of Sanctuary at Kingdom Square, said Towns “loved to serve God, and he had a passion for his brothers and sisters, especially those who serve in the military.”

At his modest townhouse in the Campus Way community, a pumpkin sat on the front stoop. A family member who answered the front door said the family did not want to talk.

Towns, a native of Portsmouth, Virginia, and a 1973 graduate of Manor High School there, enlisted in the Army when he was 17. He rose to platoon sergeant and received an honorable discharge in 1989. He later joined the Army National Guard, serving in units in Maryland, Virginia and the District, where he joined last year. He was serving an 18-month tour when he died.

As a guardsman, Towns worked several natural disasters, including hurricanes Katrina and Isabel. He received the Maryland State Active Duty Medal, the Army Achievement Medal and the Meritorious Service Medal.

Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.) said she remembered when Towns's unit was called up for duty. “I saw Staff Sergeant Towns off, along with other members of the D.C. National Guard, just four months ago, with encouraging words that were at odds with what I knew of the danger of the mission of the 275th Military Police Company to train Iraqi police,” Norton said in a written statement.

She said that at the send-off for the 275th the group paused to remember the first member of the D.C. National Guard to die in the war, Specialist Darryl T. Dent, 21, of the District.

Representative Albert R. Wynn (D-Md.) called Towns's death “a senseless tragedy.”

“It reaffirms that it is time to bring our troops home,” he said. “While President Bush says that the violence is decreasing, for this family the violence is very real.”

Towns and his wife were married for 10 years. He had four children from a previous relationship, and she had two. Between them, they all loved football.

“He was the Eagles fan in the family; we would have a ball,” Wise said. “I miss his barbecue. It's too bad I can't taste it.”

Hundreds Honor Upper Marlboro Soldier
Guardsman Was Corrections Officer
By Hamil R. Harris
Courtesy of the Washington Post
Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Several hundred D.C. National Guard troops in green fatigues and law enforcement officers from across the region in crisp, blue uniforms filled a church in Prince George's County yesterday to pay final respects to one of their own.

Staff Sergeant Robin L. Towns Sr., 52, a member of the D.C. National Guard's 275th Military Police Company, died October 24, 2007,  in Bayji, Iraq, of wounds he suffered when a makeshift bomb detonated near his Humvee during combat.


“This was a man who paid the highest tribute that a man can pay,” said Army Captain Gladys Lanier, a chaplain with the D.C. National Guard. “He gave his life.”

Towns, who lived in Upper Marlboro and was an officer with the Prince George's Department of Corrections, had been in Iraq for nine days when he was killed. He was on an 18-month tour.

During the service at the Sanctuary at Kingdom Square in Capitol Heights, the Rev. Anthony G. Maclin eulogized Towns, who, with his wife, Sheila, had six children.

“Look beyond the circumstances that brought us here today,” Maclin said. “We pause to celebrate a wonderful life, a life of dedication, a life of service.”

Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.) recalled Towns's strong character. “This is a man who led by example in the military, and he led by example in his own family.”

A camouflaged Humvee with “Military Police Officer” in black letters preceded a hearse in a procession to Arlington National Cemetery.

Towns, a native of Portsmouth, Virginia, joined the Army in 1973. After 15 years and an honorable discharge, he joined the D.C. National Guard in 2003. He was a fan of football and was especially fond of the Philadelphia Eagles.

Major Anthony Jackson, one of Towns's commanders in the Guard, said the soldier waited a lifetime for a chance to put his life on the line for his country.

“In 1973, he waited 15 years while on active duty, but the call didn't come,” Jackson said, adding that Towns's mission was to fight, coach and mentor Iraqi police officers.

Said Maclin: “He was a brave man. Bravery is when you have to fight an enemy that you can't even see.”


  • DATE OF BIRTH: 07/10/1955
  • DATE OF DEATH: 10/24/2007





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