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Ex-SEAL killed in Libya 'thrived on adrenaline, danger'

By Michael Winter, USA TODAY
Updated

Embedded Video ID=1571211

Tyrone S. Woods was a "stellar SEAL" who "thrived on adrenaline and excitement and danger," his mother said of the Oregon native who retired in 2010 after 20 years in the elite Navy force. He was also a quiet person who "went out and he just got the job done with his team, who was his family."

Woods, 41, of Imperial Beach, near San Diego, died Tuesday trying to protect U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens and other staff members after the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, came under attack from militant Islamists.

"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,'" Cheryl Bennett said told KATU-TV Thursday night while packing to travel to Washington for the return of the remains of her son, Stevens and the two others killed during the four-hour assault.

Woods, who deployed several times to Iraq and Afghanistan, had spent the past two years working as a security contractor protecting U.S. American diplomatic personnel from Central America to the Middle East, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said in a statement praising Woods and Glen A. Doherty, another former SEAL who died providing protection.

"Tyrone's friends and colleagues called him "Rone," and they relied on his courage and skill, honed over two decades as a Navy SEAL," she said. "He had the hands of a healer as well as the arm of a warrior, earning distinction as a registered nurse and certified paramedic."

Besides his mother, Woods, a 1989 graduate of Oregon City High School, south of Portland, is also survived by his second wife, Dr. Dorothy Narvaez-Woods, a dentist in La Jolla, Calif.; their infant daughter, Kai; and two teenage sons, Tyrone Jr. and Hunter, from his first wife, Patricia Ann So.

So described her ex-husband, who also owned The Salty Frog bar, in Imperial Beach, for a year after his retirement,
as "balls to wall," someone who "loved life, loved adrenaline" -- and died doing what he loved.

So told told U-T San Diego that Woods twice went through "Hell Week," the 5½-day endurance test at the end of initial SEAL training.

A neighbor echoed descriptions of Woods as full of life but quiet.

"Ty had an infectious zest for excitement, and enjoyed his life immensely, while fiercely loving his home, dogs, wife and country. He was a joy to be around and so full of energy you felt better after talking with him," Shirley Nakawatase said.

"Imperial Beach is slightly less sunny without Ty around."

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