Spared the details but not the pain

Soldier killed in Iraq tried to `whitewash' his peril, family says

October 11, 2006|By Julie Scharper and Laura McCandlish | Julie Scharper and Laura McCandlish,sun reporters

Marie Moudry was about to eat dinner on a Sunday afternoon when her son, Staff Sgt. Christopher O. Moudry, called from Iraq. He sounded more upbeat than he had in recent conversations, and he shared a piece of news that he had just heard: The Ravens had won.

Four days later, two soldiers arrived at Marie Moudry's Harford County home to tell her that her son had been killed in an attack in Iraq.

Sergeant Moudry, 31, was among four soldiers from a Texas-based unit killed by small-arms fire Oct. 4. in Taji, according to the Department of Defense. A 1993 graduate of Perry Hall High School, he had most recently lived in Killeen, Texas, with his girlfriend and infant son, his mother said.

Sergeant Moudry, who enlisted in the Army in 1995, would have ended his second tour of duty in Iraq in a few more weeks. He had been scheduled to return home Nov. 9, his mother said. A cavalry scout, he had been in Iraq since December.

He never described details of his missions, his mother said.

"He whitewashed everything for us," she said. "He wouldn't tell us anything. Everything was fine. We were made to think he lived in a little safe world, when everybody else was in trouble."

But her son often sounded tired when he called from Iraq, she said. In their last phone conversation, he said that he looked forward to spending Thanksgiving and Christmas with his family.

He also told his mother that he was set to start a master gunner training program that would have given him a break from his daily routine.

"He was looking forward to three squares and the chance to use the phone anytime he liked," his mother said.

On a memorial Web site on myspace.com, photos of Sergeant Moudry with his family flash as country music plays. Childhood photos show him at an Orioles game and at Ocean City with his two sisters, Jennifer Corbin of Overlea and Sharon Roof of Abingdon.

Other photos show him holding stepdaughter Kaila Warfield, 11, and son, Chase Moudry, 9. They now live in Goodyear, Ariz., with Sergeant Moudry's former wife, Karie Warfield.

Sergeant Moudry and his girlfriend, Nikki Vandennicker of Texas, have an 18-month-old son named Ashton Moudry, his mother said.

Growing up in Perry Hall, Sergeant Moudry participated in the Boy Scouts, his mother said. She keeps stacks of the comic books that he read as a boy.

At Perry Hall High School, he ran track and cross country, and enjoyed archery. He ran the hurdles, said his father, James Moudry.

Marie Moudry said she was surprised when her son enlisted in the Army. "I kept telling him to get a job, and one day he said, `Guess what, Mom, I got a job. I joined the Army,'" she said. "I never allowed him to get a gun [when he was growing up]. That was my big mistake, I guess."

In August 2005, he was assigned to 7th Squadron, 10th Cavalry, 1st Brigade, 4th Infantry Division, based in Fort Hood, Texas, said Army spokeswoman, Nancy A. Bourget. Sergeant Moudry's awards and decorations include the Army Service Ribbon, Army Achievement Medal, Army Good Conduct Medal and Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, she said.

His parents, who moved to Abingdon about a year ago, said that they don't know all the details of their son's death. "We do have a lot of questions, and not a lot of answers to give," his mother said.

Viewings will be held tomorrow and Friday at Kaczorowski Funeral Home, 1201 Dundalk Ave. The funeral is scheduled for 9:30 a.m. Saturday at St. Joseph's Fullerton Roman Catholic Church, 8420 Belair Road.

julie.scharper@baltsun.com laura.mccandlish@baltsun.com

Sun reporter Laura Barnhardt contributed to this article.

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