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Army Spc. Charles E. Odums II

Died May 30, 2004 Serving During Operation Iraqi Freedom

22, of Sandusky, Ohio; assigned to Headquarters, Headquarters Company, 1st Battalion, 8th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Cavalry Division, Fort Hood, Texas; killed May 30 when his military convoy hit an improvised explosive in Baghdad.

Ohio soldier killed in Iraq

Associated Press

WASHINGTON — A soldier from Sandusky, Ohio, was killed in Iraq last weekend in an explosion near his Army patrol, the Army said Tuesday.

Spc. Charles E. Odums II, 22, died Sunday in Baghdad when a bomb exploded near the patrol, according to Army officials.

He was assigned to Headquarters Company, 1st Battalion, 8th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Cavalry Division, based out of Fort Hood, Texas.

His parents live in Sandusky.

Sandusky soldier one of two Ohioans killed in Iraq

Annie Odums was expecting a Memorial Day phone call from her son in Iraq. Instead, the Army told her that 22-year-old Spc. Charles E. Odums II, of Sandusky, had been killed on Sunday in Baghdad when a bomb exploded near his patrol.

“It’s only been two days, and it feels like weeks,” Mrs. Odums said Tuesday night.

Her son was one of two Ohio soldiers who were killed in separate attacks Sunday.

Pfc. Nicholaus E. Zimmer, 20, of Columbus, died in Kufa when his vehicle was hit by rocket-propelled grenades, the Pentagon said Tuesday. Zimmer was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 37th Armored Regiment, 1st Armored Division, Friedburg Germany.

Zimmer’s family also found out Monday that he had been killed when an Army captain came to their door in the Columbus suburb of Powell, Ohio.

“I think you know when you see the uniform coming to the door, before they even open their mouth,” said his mother, Lisa Zimmer. “My reaction was horror.”

Zimmer, a 2002 graduate of Westland High School in suburban Columbus, liked to read and was proud to serve his country, she said.

Odums was assigned to Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 1st Battalion, 8th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Cavalry Division, based out of Fort Hood, Texas. He planned to try to become a police officer in Houston when his four-year enlistment was up in another year, his mother said.

“Our faith in God is seeing us through,” she said. “We’ve had our crying periods, but we’re trying to be strong.”

She said her son was “very outgoing, very family-oriented — everyone loved him.”

Odums met his wife, Melanie, of Independence, Ohio, while they were students at the University of Toledo, his mother said.

“Charles never thought he would be college material, but we strongly encouraged him to try,” Mrs. Odums said. “He went for a year and a half, then got the point where he said, ‘Mom, I’m wasting your money and my time.’ He couldn’t find a job and decided to go to the military.

“I tried to support him in his decision, but that would not have been my first choice for him.”

Mrs. Odums said her son and daughter-in-law, who lives in Austin, Texas, planned to start a family “when he finished his term.”

“He didn’t think it was fair to leave her with a child,” she said.

Odums deployed to Iraq on March 5 and was scheduled to be there 13 months. He called his parents frequently, but tried to downplay the danger he was in.

“He didn’t want to worry his mother,” Mrs. Odums said. “Lately, he would tell us about going out on reconaissance, how they would be shot at every time.”

Odums was trained as a medic and also drove an armored vehicle.

“They knew they were going to be fired on when they went out,” Mrs. Odums said. “I don’t know if he resented it; I wouldn’t say that would be a good word. He knew his duty, and he knew he had to do it.”

Mrs. Odums said she and her husband, Charles, thought once Saddam Hussein was captured, U.S. soldiers would return home more quickly than they have.

“This should not be downplayed by people who say this is not a war,” she said. “These young men and women are being shot at and ambushed. I just want people to realize it’s not over. I want all these young men and women to return home safely.

“Just because my son didn’t doesn’t mean we don’t pray that all the others return safely.”

— Associated Press

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