Friday, June 29, 2007

Michael Moody remembered

STONY CREEK He telephoned only last Thursday to wish his daughter a happy sixth birthday.

Staff Sgt. Michael D. Moody Jr. can no longer call his parents' neat brick house, just across Flat Foot Road from the peanut field.

But at that home, and elsewhere, there will always be the memory of a smile, a strong handshake -- and pride.

Moody, 31, died June 23 of wounds he received when insurgents attacked his unit with a bomb and small-arms fire in Baghdad, not quite three months into his third tour in Iraq.

He leaves behind his daughter, a 2-year-old son and an enduring presence.

"He really was proud of his job and proud to serve," his mother, Connie Moody, said yesterday.

Moody's job was the Army. A tank commander with the 2nd Battalion, 69th Armor Regiment, based at Fort Benning Ga., he enlisted in 1997, shortly after graduating from Meadowbrook High School in Chesterfield County.

It was something family friend Alton Mason knew Moody always wanted: "His father was in the Army, and what his father did, he wanted to do."

One of his son's proudest days, Moody's father recalled, was his recent promotion to staff sergeant, one step above his own rank before his return to civilian life.

"I used to say: 'I'm the sergeant, I'm in charge.' . . . When he made E-6 [staff sergeant] he said, 'Dad, now I'm in charge,'" said Michael D. Moody Sr., smiling sadly.

With another sad smile, he tells how the 6-year-old granddaughter he will now care for asked if someday she can have her daddy's black Chevy, which is parked by the side of Flat Foot Road. He wonders how she'll feel as a teenager when the car looks a little old.

And with that, a reminder of what those who know him will miss most: "His smile," Connie Moody said, dabbing her eyes. "It was just beautiful."

Her son's service took him to Kosovo as well as Iraq, won him two Army Commendation medals and two Army achievement medals.

His father remembers a talk after Moody's first tour in Iraq.

"I said, 'Son, you know, that's history,'" Michael Sr. recalled. "They may not know your name, but you're going to be in the history books."

From the Richmond Times Dispatch

Related Link:
Michael D. Moody Jr. dies 'of wounds suffered when his unit was attacked by insurgents using an improvised explosive device and small arms fire'