Wednesday, May 3, 2006

Wednesday Hero

Spc. Charles E. Odums II
22 years old from Sandusky, Ohio
United States Army
Headquarters Company, 1st Battalion, 8th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Cavalry Division
May 30, 2004

Annie Odums was expecting a Memorial Day phone call from her son in Iraq. Instead, the Army told her that 22-year-old Spc. Charles E. Odums II, of Sandusky, had been killed on Sunday, May 30, 2004 in Baghdad when a bomb exploded near his patrol.

“It’s only been two days, and it feels like weeks,” Mrs. Odums said Tuesday night.

Odums was assigned to Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 1st Battalion, 8th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Cavalry Division, based out of Fort Hood, Texas. He planned to try to become a police officer in Houston when his four-year enlistment was up in another year, his mother said.

“Our faith in God is seeing us through,” she said. “We’ve had our crying periods, but we’re trying to be strong.”

She said her son was “very outgoing, very family-oriented - everyone loved him.”

Odums met his wife, Melanie, of Independence, Ohio, while they were students at the University of Toledo, his mother said.

“Charles never thought he would be college material, but we strongly encouraged him to try,” Mrs. Odums said. “He went for a year and a half, then got the point where he said, ‘Mom, I’m wasting your money and my time.’ He couldn’t find a job and decided to go to the military.

“I tried to support him in his decision, but that would not have been my first choice for him.”

Mrs. Odums said her son and daughter-in-law, who lives in Austin, Texas, planned to start a family “when he finished his term.”

“He didn’t think it was fair to leave her with a child,” she said.

Odums deployed to Iraq on March 5, 2004 and was scheduled to be there 13 months. He called his parents frequently, but tried to downplay the danger he was in.

“He didn’t want to worry his mother,” Mrs. Odums said. “Lately, he would tell us about going out on reconaissance, how they would be shot at every time.”

Odums was trained as a medic and also drove an armored vehicle.

“They knew they were going to be fired on when they went out,” Mrs. Odums said. “I don’t know if he resented it; I wouldn’t say that would be a good word. He knew his duty, and he knew he had to do it.”

Mrs. Odums said she and her husband, Charles, thought once Saddam Hussein was captured, U.S. soldiers would return home more quickly than they have.

“This should not be downplayed by people who say this is not a war,” she said. “These young men and women are being shot at and ambushed. I just want people to realize it’s not over. I want all these young men and women to return home safely.

“Just because my son didn’t doesn’t mean we don’t pray that all the others return safely.”

These brave men and women have given their lives so that others may enjoy the freedoms we get to enjoy everyday. For that, I am proud to call them Hero.

If you have a loved who has served or is currently serving in the armed forces, and feel they should be profiled as a Wednesday Hero, I would be proud to do it. Just email me with some info and a photo.
We Have Every Right To Dream Heroic Dreams.
Those Who Say That We're In A Time When There Are No Heroes, They Just Don't Know Where To Look

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