FORT SAM HOUSTON, Texas - Mary and David Todd Sr. lost their only son to war Aug. 20, 2008. Five years later, they were presented a somber, yet unique reminder of their child -- a "F.O.B. Todd" sign that hung outside the Forward Operating Base where he was stationed.
Sgt. 1st Class David Todd Jr. was killed in 2008 while leading a reaction force that extracted 12 of his Soldiers, who had been pinned down during a firefight in the Badghis Province, Afghanistan.
As tribute to him, his courage and his leadership, his fellow Soldiers renamed their forward operating base. The FOB was located near the village of Bala Murghab, in the Badghis Province of northwest Afghanistan.
"This is about David and the other men who fought side by side with him," said Mary Todd, as the sign was presented to her Sept. 30 at the Warrior and Family Support Center.
Mary's quest for the sign began after the FOB shut down. She contacted the Soldiers in his unit, Company D, 101st Forward Support Battalion, 1st Brigade, 1st Infantry Division, based out of Fort Riley, Kan., to see if they knew where it was.
Mary said the Soldiers had no idea, so her quest continued. After making other inquires, the sign was finally located at the Special Warfare Museum at Fort Bragg, N.C., where it had been brought back to the states by a Fort Bragg-based Army special operations unit.
"A lot of agencies worked together to find the sign and bring it to San Antonio," said Command Sgt. Maj. Isaia Vimoto, the senior enlisted leader for XVIII Airborne Corps and Fort Bragg, who flew to Texas to present the sign to the Todds.
While Vimoto never knew Mary and David's son, he said he volunteered to present the sign for a very personal reason: he, like the Todds, also lost a son in war.
"My son, Pfc. Timothy Vimoto, was killed in Afghanistan in 2007," said Vimoto. "I know what it is like for them. When I heard about the sign, I volunteered to present it to them and thank them for their son's service to our nation."
David Todd Jr. began his career in the Army as a cavalry scout May 16, 1991, shortly before his 19th birthday. Many years later, while serving as a Reserve Officer Training Corps instructor at Tulane University, he volunteered to join a military transition team, which advises, teaches and supports Afghan security forces. He transferred to Fort Riley, Kan., to complete the 60-day training program before moving on to Afghanistan in April, 2008, where he was assigned to Afghan Regional Security Integration Command -- West.
"David came home for leave on June 20th," said Mary. "He returned to Afghanistan in early July. In August, he was gone."
While the Todds said they are happy the sign is back home with them, they are still looking for one more sign.
"My son was a big physical fitness buff," said Mary. "It is how he relieved stress. His Soldiers told us when they would return from a mission, he would go to the gym and exercise -- so they also named the fitness center after him.
"We haven't found that sign yet, but we are still looking. Never tell a mom no."