|From The Tampa Tribune TBO.com
By JOSH POLTILOVE The Tampa Tribune
Published: Jul 31, 2007
SPRING HILL - A 20-year-old Bronze Star-winning paratrooper from Spring Hill died Sunday when his guard position was struck by a rocket-propelled grenade near Baghdad.
Pfc. Cody C. Grater was a vehicle driver with the Army's 82nd Airborne Division.
"Our son died doing what he was proud of," Larry L. Decker and Anita D. Lewis, his stepfather and mother, said in a statement. "It was his goal to make the Army his career, which he loved. He was proud of serving his country."
Grater has received the Bronze Star Medal, the Purple Heart, the National Defense Service Medal, the Iraq Campaign Medal, the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, the Army Service Ribbon and the Combat Action Badge.
His unit will hold a memorial service in Iraq on Friday.
Grater, who joined the Army in April 2006, finished Motor Transport Operator Advanced Individual Training at Fort Leonard Wood, Mo., a month later.
He reported to his division in August 2006 and was assigned to the 407th Brigade Support Battalion, 2nd Brigade Combat Team.
"Pfc. Cody Grater was an exemplary soldier in the 82nd Airborne Division," said Lt. Jason Gardel, rear detachment commander of 2nd Battalion, 325th Airborne Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team. "He served his country honorably and will long be remembered by his leaders and fellow paratroopers.
"He was eager to learn and excelled at all aspects of his chosen profession. Pfc. Grater always went the extra mile to help out his comrades."
Reporter Josh Poltilove can be reached at (813) 259-7691