For the second time in less than seven days, a Doylestown Township man has been killed in Iraq. First Lt. Colby J. Umbrell, 26, died yesterday after an improvised explosive device detonated near his vehicle in Musayyib, Iraq. The town is south of Baghdad.
He was stationed in the Army with the 1st Battalion, 501st Parachute Infantry Regiment from Fort Richardson, Alaska.
First Lt. Travis Manion, also 26, was killed in Iraq on Sunday and was brought back to Pennsylvania yesterday. A vigil in Manion's honor was scheduled for last night; upon hearing of Umbrell's death, Manion's family volunteered to memorialize both men.
Umbrell attended Central Bucks East High School, and graduated from Johns Hopkins University in 2004 with a degree in political science.
Umbrell had taken it upon himself to help Iraqi children. In partnership with his old guidance counselor at Lenape Middle School and the National Junior Honor Society there, students collected boxes of school supplies that Umbrell took back to Iraq in April after a visit home.
"He was a good role model," school counselor Ann Kuntzmann man said.
As a football player at Central Bucks East and then Johns Hopkins, he was "relentless," said Jim Margraff, Johns Hopkins head football coach. In his freshman year, in 2000, Umbrell, a defensive linemen, was a key part of the Blue Jays' first Centennial Conference title.
"He was a good, honest guy you'd trust with anything," Margraff said. "He'd always work hard, always do the right thing - I could see why he did well in the military."
In Doylestown Township, the loss of two soldiers in a week - the first casualties for this community of 18,000 in the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan - was stunning.
"It is a loss that's felt by the entire community," said Barbara N. Lyons, chairwoman of the township's Board of Supervisors.