Robert R. McCord
Command Sergeant Major, United States Army
'This is just totally unfair'
Command Sergeant Major Robert McCord had plans for his retirement.
He had just earned a bachelor's degree in business administration. He planned to participate in the upcoming Army 10-mile run in Washington, D.C. He had enrolled in graduate school. He was building a Lamborghini car.
He even hoped to get his pilot's license.
Now his grieving family is gathering in the Columbus, Georgia, home, waiting to plan his funeral and find out if police have been able to find the person who struck and killed McCord early Saturday while he was out on his morning jog.
Police say McCord, 48, who served 30 years in the Army before retiring in January as Fort Benning's garrison Command Sergeant Major, was hit from behind just after 7 a.m. Saturday on the Whitesville Road bridge over J.R. Allen Parkway.
Muscogee County Coroner James Dunnavant said an autopsy showed McCord died from blunt force trauma to the head.
McCord's wife, Gisela, greeted family members and friends at the couple's home on Ridge Creek Way. Funeral plans will be made today; the family hopes to inter his ashes at Arlington National Cemetery after a local memorial service.
"He was just an all-American kid," said McCord's mother, Barbara. He joined the Army less than a month after his 18th birthday.
McCord's older sister, Patty McCord, said he loved to build things -- and add his own touches.
"He took apart his first toaster at the age of 4," she said, smiling. She pointed out the armoires that McCord refinished for his home, and how he added lights near the shelves.
Frank Fushon, who is married to Gisela McCord's daughter, Monique, said the McCord's house in Germany, where they lived until 2002, was especially festive at Christmas.
"The Germans are very austere," Fushon said. "But Bob and Gisela's house was like a landing zone. People would walk and drive to see it."
Even as family members smile while recalling their favorite memories, his father, also named Robert McCord, wants answers about how his son died.
"This is just totally unfair," the elder McCord said. "This is as hard a loss as a parent can have. She and I are supposed to go first. This is a cruel, cruel tragedy."
Columbus Patrol Officer Rosalyn Hall said the most significant clue in finding the vehicle that struck McCord is a broken headlight.
"We know that the vehicle is missing a headlight," Hall said. "Somebody out there knows something."
She said anyone with information should call
Posted: 4 July 2005