PORTLAND, Ore. -- One of the four Americans recently killed in the attack on the U.S. Embassy in Libya this week was a Portland native.
Officials at the State Department identified Tyrone Woods as one of the casualties in the attack on the U.S. Consulate in Libya on Tuesday.
Woods' mother Cheryl Bennett, who was in the middle of packing Thursday night to go to Washington D.C., said her son was a 1989 Oregon City High School graduate. He went into the Navy a year later and became a SEAL and spent a 20-year career there before retiring in 2010.
Woods recently lived in the San Diego area with his wife, Dr. Dorothy Narvaez-Woods, a dentist in La Jolla, Calif. He also had two children with his ex-wife. Bennett said her son "thrived on adrenaline and excitement and danger. Anytime he could jump out of a plane, whether it was at 15,000 feet or 30,000 feet, it didn’t matter.”
Bennett also said her son was not only a "stellar SEAL," but he was a quiet person.
“He went out and he just got the job done with his team, who was his family,” she said.
Tyrone S. Woods - "Rone" - we thank you for your 2 decades in uniform. Our hearts are with your wife, Dorothy, and your three sons.— Susan Rice (@AmbassadorRice) September 14, 2012
Bennett went on to say he took his job seriously. Since 2010, Woods protected American diplomatic personnel in posts from Central America to the Middle East. It was a long way from when he first realized he wanted to join the Navy.
“I remember he told me, 'Mom, you know what? I’m not just going to be another barnacle scraper -- I’m trying out for the Navy SEALs,” Bennett said.
Woods went through what is commonly referred to in the Navy as "hell week" twice. He was injured during the first time, but he told his leaders he could go on. He did so well that they let him go through again.
Prior to going to Oregon City High School, Woods, who grew up with people telling him he looked like actor Val Kilmer, went to Sellwood Middle School and was born at Woodland Park Hospital.
“He was 8 pounds, 11 ounces -- a blond, fuzzy-haired little baby that I wanted more than anything in the world," Bennett said.
Ed Burton, the former wrestling coach at Oregon City High School, coached Woods. He even gave Woods a ride home from practice on occasion and got to know Woods well. Burton said Bennett was "very active" in Woods' education and worried about him and that Woods was "an intense kid (and) wrestling was perfect for him, but he never said much."
Burton was obviously saddened when he heard the news about Woods.
"When I first heard the news and got through the shock and disappointment, my first recollection would be he probably died helping somebody," he said. "That would have been typical of him."
The interesting part was that Woods wasn't a fantastic wrestler. He never won a district championship, but his determination proved to be formidable.
"(He) always worked his way into starting lineup in and out and wrestled the other kids tough in practice," Burton said. "He was a good kid ... I really felt bad for his mom because she put so much into his education and life. She would do anything for him and he was good to her. He respected his mom and was a good kid."
Burton said joining the Navy was likely a good way to go for Woods because if we would've gone to college, he would have had to work his way through his schooling in order to afford it.
"The military was a great place for him and he kind of thrived on that mentality he became a spit-and-polish kid," he said.