Operation Iraqi Freedom, Fallen Heroes, Iraq War 03/19/03

Rodney L McCandless

Camden, Arkansas

April 7, 2007

Age Military Rank Unit/Location
21 Army Pfc

5th Squadron, 73rd Cavalry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division

Fort Bragg, New Hampshire

 Killed in Zaganiyah, Iraq, when an improvised explosive device detonated near their unit.

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Rrodney McCandless

To my dearest family, some things I'd like to say...
but first of all, to let you know, that I arrived here okay.
I'm writing this from heaven. Here I dwell with God above.
Here, there's no more tears of sadness; here is just eternal love.

Please do not be unhappy just because I'm out of sight.
Remember that I'm with you every morning, noon and night.
That day I had to leave you when my life on earth was through,
God picked me up and hugged me and He said, "I welcome you."

It's good to have you back again; you were missed while you were gone.
As for your dearest family, they'll be here later on.
I need you here badly; you're part of my plan.
There's so much that we have to do, to help our mortal man."

God gave me a list of things, that he wished for me to do.
And foremost on the list, was to watch and care for you.
And when you lie in bed at night, the day's chores put to flight.
God and I are closest to you....in the middle of the night.

When you think of my life on earth, and all those loving years
because you are only human, they are bound to bring you tears.
But do not be afraid to cry; it does relieve the pain.
Remember there would be no flowers, unless there was some rain.

I wish that I could tell you all that God has planned.
But if I were to tell you, you wouldn't understand.
But one thing is for certain, though my life on earth is o'er.
I'm closer to you now, than I ever was before.

There are many rocky roads ahead of you and many hills to climb;
but together we can do it by taking one day at a time.
It was always my philosophy and I'd like it for you too...
that as you give unto the world, the world will give to you.

If you can help somebody who's in sorrow and pain,
then you can say to God at night......"My day was not in vain."
And now I am contented....that my life has been worthwhile,
knowing as I passed along the way, I made somebody smile.

So if you meet somebody who is sad and feeling low,
just lend a hand to pick him up, as on your way you go.
When you're walking down the street, and you've got me on your mind;
I'm walking in your footsteps only half a step behind.

And when it's time for you to go.... from that body to be free,
remember you're not going.....you're coming here to me. 

We Miss you Rodney, and Love you so much.....................Aunt Mary,Marcus & Michael
So long my cousin. You were the best of the best. I just wish I could be like you. IM doing my best though. until we meet again on the other side.
Your Cousin Josh
Sharla Parker, the aunt of Rodney McCandless, said her nephew tried to be a role model for younger kids."He didn't do drugs and he didn't drink, he didn't smoke. Because if one of those kids saw him do it, and those kids were looking up to him, then he felt that he would be responsible for them doing that," Parker said.

KTRE9 Video

From East Texas News 04/26/07:

Fallen soldier to be laid to rest Tuesday in Livingston
Polk County Enterprise, April 2007
Special Sections Editor

WASHINGTON — Pfc. Rodney L. McCandless, the second Polk County soldier to be killed in action in Iraq, will be laid to rest at 2 p.m. Tuesday in Livingston, a family spokesperson said Friday.

McCandless died April 7 in Zaganiyah, Iraq, a Defense Department report said.
The soldier’s body was expected to arrive in Livingston accompanied by an Army honor guard Saturday, as of press deadline. Visitation is planned for Sunday at Cochran Funeral Home in Livingston.

Funeral services will be held in the funeral home chapel Tuesday afternoon.

An improvised explosive device detonated near a unit from the 82nd Airborne Division and claimed the lives of four soldiers, including McCandless.

The other soldiers from McCandless’ unit killed in the blast were Capt. Jonathan D. Grassbaugh, 25, of East Hempstead, N.H.; Spc. Ebe F. Emolo 33, of Greensboro, N.C. and Spc. Levi K. Hoover, 23, of Midland, Mich.

A total of 10 Americans were killed in action over the Easter weekend, heaviest losses since the beginning of President George W. Bush’s escalation of action in Iraq.
The paratrooper is survived by numerous family members in Polk County.

His parents are Lynn McCandless and Rhonda McCandless of Leggett. He is also survived by a sister, Chastity McCandless and two brothers, Ron and James Sumner.

McCandless had just returned to Iraq the previous week after a two-week leave which included a visit with his grandparents in southwestern Arkansas, a family spokesperson said.

“Specialist McCandless was an inspiration to all who knew him,” said Capt. John Carson, 5th Sqd. 73rd Cav. Rear Detachment commander in Arkansas media reports. Army records listed an Arkansas address as his permanent address.

“The success and achievements our Squadron has endured over the past few weeks has not been easy or cheap, and we stand indebted to this great man who gave up his life in the service of his country.”

McCandless joined the Army in August 2005. He completed Advanced Individual Training at Fort Lee, Virginia in October 2005.
McCandless completed the Basic Airborne Course in February 2006. He reported to the 82nd Airborne Division in April 2006 and was assigned to 5th Squad., 73rd Cav. Reg., 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Abn. Div. in December 2006.

“His sacrifice strengthens our resolve to accomplish our difficult mission,” Carson said. “This hero will be sorely missed and will forever live in our memories.”

McCandless’s awards and decorations include the Bronze Star Medal, the Purple Heart, the Army Achievement Medal with one oak leaf cluster, the National Defense Service Medal, the Iraqi Campaign Medal, the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, the Army Service Ribbon, the Combat Action Badge, and the Parachutist’s Badge. 


Remembering a special Soldier
Pfc Rodney McCandless
82nd Airborne

We look at the night sky 
in the quiet of darkness,
And they are never far.
those we have loved and cherished,
those who have changed our lives 
in some small or profound way
are closer than we know,
because it is their light
That shines on our world.
It is the brilliance of their souls
That makes our night sky glow.

SHINE ON HERO !! You will be greatly missed,
Your memory will live forever, in the lives, and hearts
you touched, Mine was just one of many.
Love & miss you.. F .T. T. A.
Sherri Baber ,Jeffery Cones, Joshua Conde

Pfc Rodney McCandless
82nd Airborne

The cost of freedom is sometimes high,
Extremely more when our loved ones die.

Men and women pledged to fight and serve,
And its our support that they deserve.

Mankind itself is the one to blame,
That all through history, the story’s the same.

Peace, like love, can be hard to acquire,
Subject always to enemy fire.

Some how the righteouses tend to prevail,
Over the miss-guided, prone to fail.

No wonder we fear the tongues that lie,
As mankind squabbles beneath God’s sky.

The danger our solders face is real,
So lets let them know just how we feel.

Put forth your flag and show them your heart,
As those we love from us depart

Rodney you are our special angel. I know you are up there watching over all of us as one by one we fly to the other side to meat you. I know the lord loves you and you are here always here with us, just not in the bodily form. But you live in the hearts of all of us who love you. May we never forget the high price of freedom you paid for all of us so we may enjoy being free? We love and miss you so much. Lacychante Spruill

April 18, 2007 
to my son my right hand man yes he is truly missed but not lost for i know where he is I'm not sadded. i do not grieve for my son was a hero and with that I'm proud and i must say very deeply honored that he did so well so that brightens my heart to know even that he cant be here in body he is still with me heart and soul. woww what a wonderful way to still have him by my side. love you son your dad 
lynn mccandless (leggett, TX) 
April 22, 2007 
I wish I could have gotten to know my future step son before going on to his next life with God. From what I understand about him he was a kind and loving young man and he was the one person that will always make you laugh and smile. He is now in a better place and no longer hurting. 
Phaedra Ledger-McCandless (Leggett, TX) 
Received 04/12/08:

Army Pfc. Rodney L. McCandless was killed by a roadside bomb April 7 in Zaganiyah. He was assigned to Fort Bragg."He was courageous. He was brave. He wasn't scared of anything. He wouldn't back down from a fight. He loved what he did. He did it for his country and he didn't mind ."His message would be, 'rock on!' He wanted everybody to just keep going pretty much. He wanted us all to keep going forward," said his uncle.Joe Mc/Candless

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