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Tuesday, Nov. 08, 2011

Conference room dedicated to leader who changed lives

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Maneuver Center of Excellence Commanding General Maj. Gen. Robert Brown dedicated a conference room in McGinnis-Wickam Hall in honor of Col. William Wesley Wood, who died in Baghdad Oct. 27, 2005, after a second IED detonated near where he was directing security operations in response to an earlier IED.

Wood, selected for a second battalion command while in Iraq, took over 1st Battalion, 184th Infantry Regiment, during the summer as the country prepared for its constitutional referendum.

“Bill was the right guy for the job,” Brown said, and he honors the Spirit of Fort Benning, ordinary citizens who do extraordinary things. His legacy is his love of family, Soldiering and dedication to service.

Wood’s widow, Nanci, said her husband never asked of anyone what he wasn’t willing to do himself and is honored the conference room was dedicated to him.

More than a year after the colonel’s death, Staff Sgt. Cheyenne Belew wrote in a guestbook at legacy.com that Wood changed the direction of the battalion with his leadership:

“A truly, selfless, honorable Soldier. He motivated and gave me hope when I needed it in Iraq. I am honored to have served under such an intelligent, motivated, caring man.”

Staff Sgt. David B. Haidys, from Clarksville, Tenn., wrote that Wood was a mentor, teacher, friend and the reason he chose to stay in the military:

“By his example he taught me to always take care of Soldiers, make a choice based on facts for the good of the Army and stand up for what you believe in. ...

“Though I have not seen him since 1992 I always ask myself when faced with a tough choice ‘What would Wild Bill do?’ May God bless his soul, his family and the United States of America.”

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