Mr. Speaker, Navy Hospital Corpsman Petty Officer Third Class Zarian A. Wood, known as ‘‘Z’’ to his friends, died at Bagram Air Field, Afghanistan, on May 16, 2010 of wounds sustained from an improvised explosive device blast that occurred in Helmand Province, while on patrol two days prior.
Zarian, a 29-year-old hospital corpsman from Houston, Texas, was assigned to 3rd Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, 1st Marine Expeditionary Force, Camp Pendleton, California. He was very well known as ‘‘Doc’’ in Afghanistan, serving on the front lines alongside Marine infantrymen. Zarian graduated in 1999 from South Houston High School, where he competed on the wrestling team. He worked as a youth pastor and tutor for troubled kids on Houston’s northeast side and a merchandiser for Coca-Cola before enlisting in 2006.
He dreamed of going back to school, studying radiology, and maybe even becoming a dentist. But always putting others before himself, he put his dreams on hold to fight for his country.
And fight he did—Zarian was a decorated soldier. His personal service awards include the Purple Heart, Combat Action Ribbon, National Defense Service Medal, Afghanistan Campaign Medal, Iraq Campaign Medal, Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, and the Sea Service Deployment Ribbon.
A month before he was deployed on his second combat duty, he had some quality time with his family. Between video games and steak dinners, they bonded for what would be the last time. His father Daniel Wood, a Vietnam veteran, commented on his son’s honesty and integrity: ‘‘He’d tell you in a flat minute if you were wrong . . . then again; he’d stand up for you in a flat minute if you were right’’.
The liberty we cherish in this Nation has come at a great cost. At times we can all be guilty of taking the simple things in life for granted. We thank men like Officer Wood for these simple liberties. We thank them that we can wake up in the morning and are not afraid, and that we can go to bed at night knowing we are safe. Your selfless heroism has not been forgotten, Zarian. ‘‘Some people live their entire lifetime and wonder if they ever made a difference to the world, Marines don’t have that problem.’’—Ronald Reagan.
And that’s just the way it is.