Fallen soldier was a Dixie go-getter

Published: Thursday, January 15, 2004 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, January 14, 2004 at 11:30 p.m.
Word spread quickly among the members of the Dixie County High School class of 1975.
They had learned that their classmate, Sgt. Roy Alvin Wood, 47, of Alva, was killed Friday in Afghanistan.
Wood, an Army doctor, was in the back seat of a Humvee that crashed with another vehicle as soldiers returned from a patrol near Qalat to their headquarters at the Bagram Air Base. He and an Air Force airman were killed in the wreck.
Wood, who had moved to Steinhatchee in 10th grade after living in Texas and Fort Pierce, was a popular student at the high school in Cross City. There were about 85 people in the class of 1975, classmates said.
Wood was a bit different, said his classmate, Mitch Mitchell. He talked differently, wore his hair a little long, and wanted to go to college when most of his classmates didn't. He came across as very well educated, Mitchell said.
"I'm no dummy, but I felt like Roy was superior to me by far," said Mitchell, a Steinhatchee resident in the real estate and diamond businesses.
But despite Wood's differences, he fit in well with the other students. Many people guessed he would do well in life, but Wood never came across as stuck up, his classmates say.
And while many were surprised to learn Wood had become a doctor, some knew he planned to serve in the military.
"I just remember from time to time discussing his goals: wanting to be involved in the military," said Mark Rains, now a district-level administrator for the Dixie County School Board. "He had that sense about him that you could tell he was goal-driven."
Wood was a defensive back and a receiver on the Dixie County High School football team, said Matt Cravey, a former classmate and teammate.
Cravey, now an agriculture teacher at Dixie County High School, remembered an old Dodge van Wood had fixed up.
"It was the '70s," Cravey said, laughing.
Wood also enjoyed fishing, Cravey added. Cindy Chewning said what she remembers most about Wood is his intelligence and his ease in making friends.
"He was just a really likeable guy," Chewning said. "He got along with everybody."
But although Wood was a good student, quiet and polite, his classmates say, he knew how to have fun.
Wood was part of the senior class trip to the Bahamas, some of his classmates remembered. And while his classmates thought they'd better not share their memories of that trip, only describing it as "wild," a lot of people will remember having a good time with Wood, Mitchell said.
But all his classmates agreed on one thing: Wood's death is a loss to all who knew him and even some who didn't.
Wood received a bachelor's degree in biology from Mercer University and graduated from the University of Miami School of Medicine. He completed his medical internship at Miami's Jackson Memorial Hospital and his residency at Grady Memorial Hospital in Atlanta.
He served 24 years with the Army Reserves and National Guard.
Wood resigned his rank of major in December 2002 to become a medical sergeant beginning in 2003 until July when his unit deployed. He chose to deploy as a sergeant so he could be in an operational unit.
He is survived by his wife, Hana, and a 6-year-old son and 3-year-old daughter.
A memorial service probably will take place sometime next week in Milledgeville, Ga., said officials from the Florida National Guard.
Kathy Ciotola can be reached at (352) 338-3109 or ciotolk@gvillesun.com. The Associated Press and the Miami Herald contributed to this report.

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