SAN DIEGO (BP) — A man who can rightly be called an American hero was memorialized at the Coronado Naval Air Station Chapel in San Diego on Sept. 20. Southern Baptist chaplains participated in the service for retired U.S. Navy SEAL Senior Chief Petty Officer Tyrone Woods who died in the attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, on Sept. 11.
On a crystal-clear day, more than 600 people — family, friends and SEAL (Sea, Air and Land) shipmates — bid a final farewell to Woods, 41, a believer in Jesus Christ who was one of four Americans killed by terrorists suspected of coordinating the assault on the compound on the anniversary of the 9/11 attacks on the United States.
Woods, stationed at Benghazi with the State Department Diplomatic Security service, and fellow Navy SEAL Glen Doherty saved the lives of many U.S. personnel, according to the State Department. When the consulate came under attack, Woods and Doherty immediately took up defensive positions trying to protect U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens and the consulate compound.
“If not for him [Woods], the 30 people inside the consulate would not have made it out,” Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said in remarks relayed to the Woods family. “He had the hands of a healer as well as the arm of a warrior, earning distinction as a registered nurse and certified paramedic.”
Southern Baptist chaplains Don Biadog Jr. and Scott Adams were among the officiates at Woods’ service. “We were privileged to participate in and witness a dignified celebration of the life of Tyrone Snowden Woods,” Biadog said.
“Daily, 24-hours a day, Southern Baptist chaplains like Chaplains Biadog and Adams, sent out by our local churches as ministers to the military, carry the Good News of Jesus Christ to our men and women in uniform,” said Douglas Carver, executive director of chaplaincy for the North American Mission Board.
“They faithfully share the Gospel, lovingly provide pastoral care and comfort to those wounded in body and soul, and honor our fallen heroes and their families with comfort, hope and peace,” said Carver, who formerly served as Army Chief of Chaplains.
“Chaplain Adams served as host chaplain,” Biadog said of the memorial service. “My best friend, Dan De Guzman, a close relative of Dr. Dorothy De Guzman-Narvaez Woods, Tyrone’s widow, asked me to minister to the Woods and De Guzman-Narvaez families. Chaplain Bob Freiberg, command chaplain [at] Marine Corps Air Station, Miramar, spoke [at the service] of the promise of hope and resurrection.”
Woods was the father of three sons, Tyrone Jr., Hunter and Kai, 3 months old. In addition to his wife and children of Henderson, Nev., Woods is survived by his mother, father and one sister.
“He loved God and his country,” Biadog said of Woods, noting that Woods was raised by Bible-believing parents in Portland, Ore. “He served 20 years of honorable service in the U.S. Navy before joining State Department Diplomatic Security. As a Navy SEAL in 2005-06, Woods was awarded the Bronze Star with combat ‘V’ for valor in Iraq. He led 12 direct action raids and 10 reconnaissance missions leading to the capture of 34 enemy insurgents in the volatile Al Anbar province.”
Woods also served with the U.S. State Department Diplomatic Security service in Latin America before his assignment in Libya.
“Their heroism is extraordinary when you contemplate the odds they were facing,” Biadog said. “Woods and Doherty fought through the firefight, and yet they held their position providing time for the other consulate employees to be rescued. In about two to three hours, they held off the attackers under heavy and severe automatic weapons fire, including RPGs and mortar rounds hitting on their position around the consulate grounds. Eventually they were overwhelmed by a numerically superior force, certainly knowing they were going to lose their battle.”
During the celebration of Woods’ life, his wife spoke about her husband’s love of God and country and exhorted her husband’s fellow SEALs to continue the fight for freedom around the world.
Woods’ father, Charles, said, “We don’t know why these things happen, but we know of God’s character and His loving ways — a lot of good things will come of this. I am at peace with this as promised in the Bible in Romans 8:28. Tyrone was a solid Christian and a man of faith.”
“Tyrone fought for hours against the enemy and at the last moments of his life Tyrone was thinking about his family,” fellow Navy SEAL shipmate Captain Bill Wilson said. While looking at Woods’ flag-draped casket, Wilson said, “We respect and admire you fighting the enemy. You are our hero.”
Compiled by the North American Mission Board’s communications staff. NAMB endorses 1,400 Southern Baptist chaplains serving in the armed forces.