SPC Michael Rodriguez
RODRIGUEZ , SPC Michael (Rod) J. SPC MICHAEL (Rod) J. RODRIGUEZ, 20, a fourth generation soldier, died April 23, 2007, while serving his country in Iraq. Michael attended Berean Christian School and Central High School, where he was active in many things (but not homwrk, misspelled on purpose because that’s the way Michael would have done it) including the Navy JROTC program. He was born in Syracuse, NY on May 30, 1986 but loved Knoxville, TN and considered it his home town. In preparation for joining the U.S. Army Michael spent many hours starting fires, jumping out of trees and cooking and eating weeds. He practiced conservation of paper by rolling numerous homes and use of future military intelligence skills by hiding, losing, burying and having the lawn mower run over his homework. As all that knew Michael he had a loving heart and a great since of humor. In 2005, he joined the U.S. Army and was assigned to Bravo Troop, 5-73rd Calvary, and 82nd Airborne Division at Fort Bragg, NC to become a paratrooper. As an 82nd AA Paratrooper and Calvary Scout Michael knew that his mission in Iraq was making a difference. An American Paratrooper, except to protect the blood of Innocents or his Brothers, does not willingly give his life; it must be taken from him. Michael proudly earned the honor of wearing the Calvary Stetson and Spurs. Michael has been awarded the Purple Heart, Bronze Star, Combat Action Badge, and the Good Conduct Medal. Michael was preceded in death by his aunt Joan Haynes (Hathead to Michael). He is survived by Dona L. Drake, mom; Lorie and Eric Southerland, Mom and Dad and George T. Rodriguez III, father; brothers, George IV, Daniel, and Dan; sisters, Nancy, Katie, Katherine; close buddies Josh Hudgens and Wesley Rule; fiancée Caitlin Stone; caring grandparent, numerous aunts and uncles and cousins.