Two with local ties die in Iraq

Petty officer raised in Harford killed in blast

sergeant from Mount Airy dies in combat

September 19, 2006|By Mary Gail Hare | Mary Gail Hare,Sun Reporter

A Navy petty officer who was raised in Harford County and graduated from Bel Air High School in 1992 was killed Saturday in Iraq while trying to dismantle a bomb, and an Army sergeant from Mount Airy died Sunday as a casualty of combat operations, the Defense Department announced yesterday.

David Sean Roddy, 32, based in Norfolk, Va., with the Navy Expeditionary Combat Command, was attempting to disarm a roadside bomb near Hadisa in Al Anbar province, when it was detonated, his family said yesterday.

"His fellas called us from Iraq and told us David was extremely cautious and did everything right," said the sailor's father, Robert Roddy of Abingdon. "They told us as he approached the device, it went off."

The Marines had cordoned off the site of a suspected bomb, family members said. Petty Officer Roddy was the only casualty.

The other Marylander, named by the Defense Department late last night, was Sgt. David J. Davis, 32, of Mount Airy. He died in Baghdad of injuries sustained when an improvised explosive device detonated near his Stryker Armored Vehicle during combat operations in Sadr City, the announcement said.

Sergeant Davis was assigned to the Army's 4th Squadron, 14th Cavalry Regiment, 172nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, based at Fort Wainwright, Alaska. His family could not be reached last night.

Petty Officer Roddy was assigned to Explosive Ordnance Disposal Mobile Unit Two in Norfolk, Va. He joined the Navy seven years ago, after earning an associate's degree in electronics from Harford Community College and working several years for ADT Alarm Systems in Columbia, his family said.

"He always had the urge to go into the Navy, and he loved it," said the elder Roddy. "He planned to make a career of it."

Buzz Pender, ADT service team manager, remembered Petty Officer Roddy as a hard worker. "He really was the epitome of service, and we have several customers who recommended him for outstanding service."

Mr. Pender recalled his own reaction to Petty Officer Roddy's plans for the future.

"He came in and said he was joining the Navy, and I thought it odd because he had just gotten married," Mr. Pender said. "He was looking for adventure and skills we didn't offer."

Robert Roddy, a retired government worker, and his wife, Carol, described their son as adventurous and energetic. He loved paintball and the Boy Scouts and earned the rank of Eagle Scout by building bird houses for an environmental preserve near his home, his parents said.

"He was a real adventurous go-getter who knew what he wanted," Michael Roddy said of his younger brother. "He came out of Navy boot camp realizing that he loved the Navy. He loved what he was doing and perished doing it."

During his Navy career, Petty Officer Roddy initially worked with computers, but a friend interested him in detonation about two years ago, family members recalled. He finished explosive ordnance training last year and had completed a tour in Kuwait in March.

"He planned to make a career out of the Navy and then maybe work for the police in bomb disposal," said Michael Roddy.

Petty Officer Roddy left for a six-month deployment to Iraq in June.

"He was not apprehensive about going to Iraq, but he knew what he was in for," said Robert Roddy.

Petty Officer Roddy's wife of 11 years, the former Cristale O'Rourke of Edgewood, and their three children, a 10-year-old daughter and 7-year-old twin sons, reside in Hampton, Va.

The couple met at a video store in Maryland, when Petty Officer Roddy handled a movie return for his future wife. She spent three years with him in Japan, she said.

"He was very dedicated to the Navy and loved his job," said Mrs. Roddy. "We both knew the risks."

His parents spoke to him on the phone the weekend before last, his father said.

"He was always upbeat," Mr. Roddy said.

Three weeks ago, however, Petty Officer Roddy lost his best friend, Paul Darga, to a bomb blast.

"He saw his friend get killed and it upset him very much," Robert Roddy said. "But he felt what he was doing was very important."

The family has tentatively scheduled a funeral Mass at 10 a.m. Sept. 30 at St. Francis de Sales Church, 1450 Abingdon Road, Abingdon.

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