More than 200 soldiers, family and friends attended funeral services Friday for Col. William Wesley Wood of Panama City. He was the highest-ranking U.S. soldier killed in Iraq since the 2003 invasion.
The 44-year-old Wood had rushed to aid a company commander who lay mortally wounded after a bomb exploded October 27 in Baghdad. A second bomb went off, killing Wood.
Close friend Col. Glenn Burch, who escorted Wood's casket to Georgia, says he took charge after the bombing, establishing security until the second bomb exploded.
In July, 3rd Infantry commanders tapped Wood to lead the troubled 1st Battalion, 184th Infantry Regiment of the California National Guard. The unit's commander was replaced after 12 soldiers were charged with abusing Iraqi prisoners.
After Wood's death, the Army promoted him posthumously from lieutenant colonel to colonel.