St. Louis, Missouri
Company B, 2nd Battalion, 20th Special Forces Group (Airborne) Glen Arm, Md.
Operation Enduring Freedom
Bob Woods, SFC Woods' uncle and Ohio State captain of the Patriot Guard Riders, spoke with the Washington Post about his nephew.
Gunshot Wounds Kill Va. Soldier
Sergeant From Chesapeake 'Loved What He Was Doing'
By Greg Gaudio
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, August 20, 2009
A Virginia soldier has died of wounds he suffered in Afghanistan last week.
Army Sgt. 1st Class William B. Woods Jr., 31, of Chesapeake, died Aug. 16 at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Landstuhl, Germany, the Pentagon announced Wednesday. He succumbed to gunshot wounds he suffered Aug. 14 while supporting Operation Enduring Freedom, according to a news release.
A family member remembered Woods as a soft-spoken, level-headed man who was devoted to his wife, Elizabeth, and daughters, Lilly, 6, and Elle May Sky, 8 months.
"He would always be beaming when he was around his kids," said Bob Woods, 58, an uncle who lives near Cincinnati. "And he and his wife... they really just made a nice couple. They really worked well together. They were happy and in love."
Woods said that he talked with William before he left for Afghanistan and that he was proud to serve his country in spite of the risks.
"He was a very, very good young man," Woods said. "He loved his country, he loved what he was doing, and he knew the ramifications of what he did."
Woods, who was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 20th Special Forces Group (Airborne), Glen Arm, Md., was shot in Afghanistan's Ghazni province. The enemy has not been identified.
"The overall mission of that task force is training and enabling the Afghan forces," said Sgt. 1st Class Jason Baker, a Special Forces spokesman at Fort Bragg, N.C. "They work with Afghan commandos."
Woods said William was a medical sergeant who completed a treacherous three-year training program. "That's more than just a paramedic.... There's serious stuff you've got to do there."
Woods's family has a long military lineage. His father, William B. Woods Sr., served in the U.S. Marine Corps during the Vietnam War; his grandfather, John Woods, was in the Navy in World War II; and his uncles, Johnnie and Bob Woods, served in the Army in Vietnam.
Bob Woods is Ohio State captain of the Patriot Guard Riders, a national organization made up mostly of motorcycle riders that attends military funerals to show support for families. "My fellow patriots this one hit close to home," he wrote in a posting on the group's Web site.
"I understand war, and I understand people dying, and unfortunately it tapped my door this time," he said. "Our family believes that when it's your time to die, it's your time to die. We don't know the reason."
Bob Woods said his nephew grew up in Catawissa, Mo., about 40 miles southwest of St. Louis. He had an adventurous spirit and loved sports, the outdoors and skydiving. He served in the Marine Corps and the Army before joining the Special Forces.
"The family is coping with it the best we can," Bob Woods said. "And we'll get through it, and we would... like to ask the nation not only to pray for my nephew's wife and two children but also to continue to respect and pray for our military men and women around the world. They need our support in the worst way, and a lot of times people don't realize how much support they need until something hits home like this."
The Patriot Guard Riders will be riding for SFC Woods.
Our condolences and prayers go out to the Woods and PGR families.