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RMC Marvin Roger Woods, USN, Retired

Marvin Roger Woods, the son of a sailor, enlisted in the Navy when he was in high school and went on to serve for 23 years. When he retired from the Navy in 1984, he took a six-week vacation, then reported back to his office at the Patunxent River Naval Air Station and continued in his job as director of communications, but as a civilian. 

“His job was his life,” his son, James, said. “I remember when he retired from the Navy, he cried.” The name of the 57-year-old resident of Great Mills, in St. Mary’s County, was on the Navy’s official list of those unaccounted for in the terrorist attack on the Pentagon. He had relocated there in the 1990s. 

“My husband was proud of the 40 years he gave to his country,” said his wife, Betty. 

Woods – known as “Roger” to friends and family – grew up in Owendale, Michigan. He served a tour in Vietnam, then met his wife in October 1971 while on leave. Three months later they were married, and together they went off to his next assignment in Puerto Rico. Like many military families, Woods, his wife, and their three children traveled from city to city, port to port. 

“When he would be out to sea, he would write me a letter every day,” his wife recalled. 

He was content with his life, his son said. He loved to go hunting with his brother across the Patunxent River in Calvert County and fishing in his small boat. 

“He’d seen the worst, so he chose to look at the best,” said Jane Tennyson, a Navy civil servant who worked with him at the Patunxent River Naval Air Station. 

Woods’s wife was watching TV when news of the Pentagon attack was broadcast. She hoped and prayed that her husband had already been called away to the war room or was in the courtyard taking a smoking break. 

By 1:30 a.m. Wednesday, September 12th, when the Navy officers arrived at her front door, she knew that he wasn’t. 

“They told me that my husband was officially missing,” she said. 

 

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