Sergeant, United States Marine Corps
RELEASES from the United States Department of Defense
No. 503-07 IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 30, 2007
Media Contact: (703) 697-5131/697-5132
DoD Identifies Marine Casualty
The Department of Defense announced today the death of a Marine who was supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom. Sergeant Peter Woodall, 25, of Sarasota, Florida. Woodall died April 27, 2007, while conducting combat operations in Al Anbar province, Iraq. He was assigned to 8th Engineer Support Battalion, 2nd Marine Logistics Group, II Marine Expeditionary Force, Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. For more information in regard to this release the media can contact the 2nd Marine Logistics Group public affairs office at (910) 451-3538.
1 May 2007:
Marine Sergeant Peter Woodall, 25, a 1999 graduate of Riverview High School, died Friday during combat operations in Al Anbar province, Iraq, He is the ninth service member connected to Manatee and Sarasota counties killed in the Iraq war.
Overwhelmed, Woodall's family had a friend talk to the media in front of the home of his parents, Elizabeth and Richard Woodall.
Woodall's wife, Joanne, and 3-year-old son, Jacob, were at their home in Camp Lejeune, North Carolina.
Woodall also is survived by a sister, Katie, who attends Sarasota Military Academy, and a brother, Bart.
Woodall was an explosives ordnance disposal technician.
"It was a very dangerous job, " said family
spokesman Wes Boland, "but he never talked about any close calls."
Sergeant Peter Woodall was the stereotypical Marine. The 25-year-old with broad shoulders and a buzz cut had the look, even in high school.
He was a Marine "110 percent of the time," said his best friend from high school, Wes Boland.
Woodall died Friday in Anbar province of Iraq, the Department of Defense said Monday.
The military would not release details of Woodall's death, but his stepfather, Richard Woodall, said he was placing a TNT disruption charge on an improvised explosive device when it exploded.
He was married. He and his wife, Joanna, have a 3-year-old son, Jacob.
He enlisted in 2000 after graduating from high school. Woodall's desire to serve in the military started with JROTC at Riverview High School, and the decorated Marine's life ended last week during his second tour of duty in Iraq. Woodall was assigned to the Explosive Ordinance Disposal Company, 8th Engineer Support Battalion, 2nd Marine Logistics Group, II Marine Expeditionary Force.
"We're proud of him," his mother, Elizabeth Wloka Woodall, said Monday.
Boland described Woodall, whom his high school friends knew by his father's last name of Wloka, as a loyal friend and a dedicated family man. But first, he was a Marine.
After his first tour in Iraq, Woodall briefly considered getting a discharge from the Marines and going into another line of service: policing. But instead of joining the Florida Highway Patrol as he had mentioned, the native of Poland re-enlisted, and was deployed earlier this year.
"He knew there was a job over there to do," Boland said.
His family said he will be buried at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Virginia.
1 May 2007:
War's sting felt by soldier and sister
During her year in Iraq, Army Specialist Katarzyna Wloka saw soldiers suffering, and she saw them die.
As a medical logistics technician, the Sarasota native worked at clinics where many of the casualties of war spent their final moments.
She had returned stateside when her big brother, Marine Sergeant Peter Woodall of Sarasota, told her he was going back to Iraq for his second tour of duty.
Her heart sank.
"I didn't want anything to happen," said Wloka, 21. "I understood what was going on. I didn't want to think of my brother as being there."
Her 25-year-old brother had signed up for one of the riskiest jobs in the war as a technician with the Explosive Ordnance Disposal Company.
Woodall's family got word on Friday that he and one of his close friends in the company had died that day while trying to defuse a roadside bomb in the Anbar province of Iraq.
Wloka, whose Army unit is based in Kentucky, packed her bags and flew to Camp Lejeune in North Carolina to be with her brother's wife and 3-year-old son.
Woodall's family is planning a memorial at Camp Lejeune, and his funeral will be at the Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia. A date has not been set.
"His mind was set," Wloka said about her brother's decision to work in the EOD company.
"I don't really know why he wanted it. I told him it was stupid. That's a dangerous job."
Woodall had a close call in his first tour in Iraq, as an infantryman.
He was struck in the arm by shrapnel and returned stateside for several years. He was awarded a Purple Heart, one of nine decorations he had received since joining the Marine Corps in 2000.
He briefly considered leaving the military and joining the Florida Highway Patrol. To Wloka's dismay, he changed his mind and was resolute about returning -- just like his sister when she enlisted in the military over his objections.
Just as her brother had done, Wloka joined the JROTC at Riverview High School, where both were active.
The program's former senior instructor, Norman MacLellan, remembers Woodall.
"He was very athletic, very much involved," he said. "He loved ROTC. All of his friends were in it.
"I just can't say enough about the guy."
Woodall graduated from Riverview in 2000.
He was known then by his father's last name, Wloka, but had since taken his stepfather's name.
His sister transferred to the Sarasota Military Academy. And as her brother had, after graduation, she joined the military immediately.
"I told him I wanted to go and experience it, and see how it is," she said.
"He wanted me to go to college and be a good family member and good sister and good daughter."
But Wloka said he respected her decision and tried to prepare her by giving her brotherly advice, mainly about being a woman in the service.
The last time she talked to her brother was in February. He called her as he was getting ready to board a plane headed back to the war.
Wloka told him he was going to be an uncle.
"I told him I was pregnant with twins and asked him to be the godfather," she said between sobs. "He said he would be honored."
Photo Courtesy of Holly, June 2007
Photo Courtesy of Holly, May 2007