Thursday, May 24, 2007

Julian Woodall remembered

Three men dressed in Marine Corps uniforms came to Meredith McMackin's door at 1 a.m. Tuesday to tell her the news she never wanted to hear.

Her oldest son would never come home again.

Cpl. Julian Woodall was killed Tuesday by an explosive device in the road while serving in Iraq, according to McMackin. He was 21.

“Yesterday, I was like, 'I don't want to believe it,' because I couldn't handle it,” McMackin said Wednesday afternoon. "I just thought this had to be a bad dream."

Woodall was on his second deployment in Al Anbar Province, Iraq. He was assigned to Battery L, Third Battalion, 10th Marine Regiment, based in Camp Lejeune, N.C. He joined the Marine Corps on Aug. 16, 2004, and was trained as a field-artillery cannoneer.

McMackin said her son was close to becoming a sergeant.

He had been promoted to corporal in September and had received the Iraq Campaign Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Combat Action Ribbon and Sea Service Deployment Ribbon.

Adam Brown, 29, grew to admire Woodall even though Brown was his coach in an amateur paintball league in Tallahassee. He said Woodall had the most guts of anyone he'd ever met.

"I have run across many people in my life," said Brown, who now lives in Tampa. "Very few have been worthy of the stature Julian holds."

He said he's coached two other young men who are in the military; one is in the Navy and the other was a Marine buddy of Woodall's. He said Woodall's death has taken a lot out of him.

"It finally hit home for me," Brown said Wednesday. "I don't want any more of my boys dying over there. Julian died doing his job."

Woodall graduated from SAIL High School in 2004 and married Melissa Robinson, who also is a graduate of the school. He was a painfully shy teenager, according to family and administrators, but McMackin said she knew he touched a lot of people.

"Julian was a very kind and considerate and good person. He was never unkind," McMackin said.

Since Woodall's untimely death, McMackin said the community has offered its condolences and help. She's comforted knowing so many people care.

The last time she talked to him was on Mother's Day. She managed to laugh a bit when she retold the story of how Woodall said he waited in line for an hour and half to use the phone to call her. It turns out the phone didn't work, so he stood in another line.

McMackin said she didn't remember everything they said to each other.

"I just remember that it was so wonderful hearing his voice."

Fromt the Tallahassee Democrat

Related Link:
Julian M. Woodall dies 'while conducting combat operations'