U.S. soldier killed in explosion in Iraq posthumously promoted to colonel

A soldier from Florida killed in an explosion in Baghdad has been posthumously promoted, making him the highest-ranking U.S. soldier killed in action in the Iraq conflict, the Pentagon said.

Col. William W. Wood, 44, died Oct. 27. He was directing security operations after an improvised explosive device detonated when another bomb went off, according to the Defense Department. Wood was a lieutenant colonel at the time he was killed. The Army posthumously promoted him to colonel, Army spokeswoman Lt. Col. Pamela Hart said.

"It validates his career," said Wood's half brother, Donald H. Hansen of Panama City. "It's proper for the Army to do what they've done." Family members described him as a career soldier who strongly supported the war in Iraq.

"His e-mails were consistent in that he thought the press did not accurately portray what was going on ... there were many more successes that should have been reported," Hansen said.

His last e-mail came just four days before he died, his father said. "In my last e-mail I had from him, he talked about delivering ballots to the polling places, and that the Iraqi people were really glad to have an opportunity to vote in a free election," his father, Jimmy Wood, said.

William Wood followed his father into the military after graduating with a degree in political science. He is survived by his wife and 13-year-old daughter, reports the AP. I.L.

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