Operation Iraqi Freedom, Fallen Heroes, Iraq War 03/19/03

Gary L Woods Jr

Lebanon Junction, Kentucky

April 10, 2009

Age Military Rank Unit/Location
24 Army SSG

1st Battalion, 67th Armor Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division

Fort Carson, Colorado

 Killed when their military vehicle was struck by a suicide vehicle-borne improvised explosive device in Mosul, Iraq.

Staff Sgt. Gary L. Woods
Patrick Keller, who served with Gary L. Woods Jr. in Iraq, remembered him as a fine soldier who cracked jokes to break up the most tense situations and also for Woods'' love of music. Woods'' musical instruments "always cluttered his area and his house and seemed to follow him wherever he went," said Keller. "I remember on more than one occasion he''d be busting out his acoustic guitar in Iraq and entertaining the rest of us. We used to joke around and tell him that he should release an album entitled ''Talifar Unplugged,''" referring to an Iraqi town. Woods, 24, of Lebanon Junction, Ky., died April 10 when his vehicle was struck by an explosive in Mosul. He was assigned to Fort Carson. Sister-in-law MaRanda Green said she and Woods would combine to give her sister Christy, Woods'' wife, a hard time, leading Christy to say, "Oh Lord, I''ve married my sister in guy form." Green told of when the family was snowed in one Christmas, and Woods volunteered to shovel out all the cars. "That little turkey had shoveled all the snow behind my Jetta," she said. "I was the only one who couldn''t get out. He laughed and he laughed and then he left me there."
Published online on Apr. 13, 2009
100 attend Woods’ funeral

The Associated Press

SHEPHERDSVILLE, Ky. — More than 100 people gathered for a funeral for a Kentucky soldier killed in Iraq.

The funeral April 19 for Army Staff Sgt. Gary Lee Woods of Lebanon Junction was held at Bullitt Central High School, his alma mater.

WHAS11 reported the 24-year-old soldier’s body was escorted April 16 from Fort Knox to a funeral home in Shepherdsville.

The Pentagon said Woods and four other soldiers were killed April 10 when a suicide bomber detonated a ton of explosives near a police headquarters in the northern city of Mosul.
Soldier brought instruments everywhere, even Iraq

The Associated Press

Patrick Keller, who served with Gary L. Woods Jr. in Iraq, remembered him as a fine soldier who cracked jokes to break up the most tense situations and also for Woods’ love of music.

Woods’ musical instruments “always cluttered his area and his house, and seemed to follow him wherever he went,” Keller said.

“I remember on more than one occasion he’d be busting out his acoustic guitar in Iraq and entertaining the rest of us. We used to joke around and tell him that he should release an album entitled ‘Talifar Unplugged,’ ” referring to an Iraqi town.

Woods, 24, of Lebanon Junction, Ky., died April 10 when his vehicle was struck by an explosive in Mosul. He was assigned to Fort Carson.

Sister-in-law MaRanda Green said she and Woods would combine to give her sister Christy, Woods’ wife, a hard time, leading Christy to say, “Oh Lord, I’ve married my sister in guy form.”

Green told of when the family was snowed in one Christmas, and Woods volunteered to shovel out all the cars.

“That little turkey had shoveled all the snow behind my Jetta,” she said. “I was the only one who couldn’t get out. He laughed and he laughed and then he left me there.”
From CBS News cbsnews.com 04/13/09:

Somber Return For 5 Troops Killed In Mosul

On a chilly Easter night, two days after his son and four of his fellow soldiers were killed in Iraq, David Pautsch watched their remains arrive on a jumbo jet during a somber, half-hour ceremony.

"You see these five caskets, flag-draped, it's sobering beyond belief," Pautsch told The Associated Press afterward. "There's no music in the background, but just the stark reality of those caskets laying there against the backdrop of this huge 747.

"You're just sobered, and you have to come to grips with the finality of it all. It provides good closure. You realize that this is the end."

The arrival of the five soldiers was only the fourth dignified transfer ceremony to be open to the media since the Pentagon ended an 18-year ban on press coverage of the events earlier this month. Corporal Jason Pautsch's father and two brothers were the first family members of a fallen soldier to speak with media afterward.

White-gloved soldiers and airmen meticulously carried the five flag-draped transfer cases from the jet to a truck, which took them to the military's largest mortuary. The silence was broken only by the cries of children, the hum of the aircraft and the cameras of photographers who were allowed to attend.

The five soldiers, assigned to the 1st Battalion, 67th Armor Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division of Fort Carson, Colo., were killed by an improvised explosive in Mosul, Iraq on Friday.

The Department of Defense said the bomber driving a truck detonated a ton of explosives near a police headquarters in the northern city of Mosul, killing the men in the deadliest attack against U.S. troops in more than a year. The U.S. military said Iraqi police were the bomber's target and that the Americans were caught up as bystanders.

Two Iraqi policemen also were killed in the midmorning blast near the Iraqi National Police headquarters. At least 62 people, including one American soldier and 27 civilians, were wounded, officials said.

In addition to Cpl. Jason G. Pautsch, 20, of Davenport, Iowa, who was serving his first tour in Iraq, the other deceased soldiers returning home are: 
Staff Sgt. Gary L. Woods Jr., 24, of Lebanon Junction, Ky., an
armored vehicle crewman who was a decorated nine-year veteran of the Army on his third tour in Iraq; 
Staff Sgt. Bryan E. Hall, 25, of Elk Grove, Calif., a decorated infantryman who was a 13-year veteran of the Army; 
Sgt. Edward W. Forrest Jr., 25, of St. Louis, a five-year veteran infantryman serving his second tour; and
Private Second Class Bryce E. Gautier, 22, of Cypress, Calif., a medic deployed to Iraq in January on his first tour.

The Pautschs' trip to Dover from Davenport, Iowa, and their decision to describe the ceremony were both intended to honor Jason, who they said often felt that soldiers were not properly appreciated for their sacrifices.

"He despised the cowardly attitude of a lot of the politicians that brought into question the value of what they were doing over there," David Pautsch said. "He despised the idea that so many Americans were too gutless to stand up for what they believed."

Pautsch, 20, and the four other soldiers were killed Friday when a suicide bomber driving a truck detonated a ton of explosives near a police headquarters in the northern city of Mosul. It was the deadliest attack against U.S. troops in more than a year.

The U.S. military said the bombers targeted Iraqi police and the Americans were caught up as bystanders. Two Iraqi policemen also were killed in the midmorning blast near the Iraqi National Police headquarters. At least 62 people, including one American soldier and 27 civilians, were wounded, officials said.

Jason Pautsch's older brother, 23-year-old Jared, said he used his training as a private in the 82nd Airborne Division to keep his emotions in check during the ceremony.

"I wasn't going to stand there and bawl my eyes out," Jared said. "Some people had to be strong. You can shed a couple tears, but in the end, it's still freezing cold out, and you've got to stand there saluting your brother's body as it's going away. There's no time to stand there and break down.

"You have to be able to stand there, know that he died for a reason, and then salute him for that reason."

Jason Pautsch graduated from high school a semester early, blowing off the senior prom and being able to graduate with his friends so he could enlist in the Army, his father and brothers said. He was a thrill-seeker who enjoyed hunting and biking in his spare time.

David Pautsch, who owns an advertising agency in Davenport, had a long phone conversation with his son about 12 hours before he died. The news was a shock, he said, because they had talked so recently. But he said his son, a born-again Christian, wasn't afraid to be killed.

"It's a noble thing to lay down your life for someone else. Basically, when you join the Army, you give the Army a blank check to include your life. And they cashed it," David said. "God is bringing good out of this. And he understood that."
© 2009 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Click To Return To Main Page

 Don't Let The Memory Of Them Drift Away

Copyright 2003-2015  Q Madp  PO Box 86888  Portland OR 97286-0888  www.OurWarHeroes.org