OMAHA, NE, USA U.S. Army PFC, B TROOP, 1/71 CAV, 1ST BRIGADE COMBAT TEAM, 10TH MN DIV ,FORT DRUM 07/05/2010, CHARADARRE, AFGHANISTAN
On the ground in Afghanistan barely more than a month, Edwin “Eddie” Wood already had survived one bomb attack. Back out on patrol Monday as a scout with the Army’s 10th Mountain Division, insurgent bombers struck again. This time, the blast claimed the life of Pfc. Wood, an 18-year-old graduate of Omaha North High School.
“He did his duty, like he was supposed to,” said his father, Tom Wood of Omaha. “He never told me exactly what happened (the first time). Soldiers don’t talk about that stuff.”
The Pentagon announced Wednesday that Wood was among two soldiers killed by an improvised explosive in Kandahar. The bomb wounded three other soldiers. Wood’s death reflects the recent surge in U.S. casualties as troops have pushed into Taliban-dominated areas in the southern part of the country. He is the fourth soldier from Nebraska or western Iowa to die in Iraq or Afghanistan in the last month. He also is the first Omaha soldier to die in the nine-year-old Afghanistan conflict and the first from the city
to die in either Iraq or Afghanistan in nearly three years.
Wood, a month shy of his 19th birthday, had been in the Army less than a year. But he’d been dressing in uniform almost from the time he could walk. His father is active as an early American soldier re-enactor, and from an early age Eddie joined in, too. As a young boy, he would wear a three-corner hat over his red hair and carry a water bucket behind the cannon as other re-enactors walked in parades. In more recent years, he had his own period infantry uniform, muzzle loader and saber. Wood was active in the Boy Scouts and was in Junior ROTC all four years at North, becoming a leader in the group. He also was active in drama at North, a shy kid who worked hard behind the scenes building sets and operating lights and sound. At North, he was remembered as a conscientious student, dependable and well-liked. “He was an excellent kid, a real nice kid,’’ said Jeffrey Edie, a Junior ROTC instructor at the school.
Wood graduated from North a year ago, unsure of whether he wanted to make the Army a career, but he enlisted and was off to boot camp in October. He was assigned to a combat team with the 10th Mountain Division, a light infantry unit stationed in Fort Drum, N.Y. He was first sent to Afghanistan in May, when he had his first brush with a bomb.
Wood originally intended to be home on leave for his favorite holiday, the Fourth of July, though he had barely begun his year-long overseas tour. As it turned out, his leave got moved up — to June 11 — and he spent two weeks in Omaha with his family.
“We were all here for him, and he was happy as could be,’’ said his mother, Janis Boehmer of Omaha.
He returned to Afghanistan June 29 and soon was back on patrol. His family was celebrating the July 4 weekend without him Monday when they received word he had been killed. His father was at Dover Air Force Base in Delaware Wednesday afternoon to watch as Wood’s flag-draped casket arrived from Afghanistan. Funeral arrangements were pending.
Besides his parents, Eddie Wood was survived by brother Thomas Jr., 15, and sister, Isabeau Tholen, 11.