The setting allowed the soldiers to be close to the people they were there to protect. They often handed out candy to children and talked with people curious about the gadgets on their uniforms. There were Iraqi interpreters walking with them. The scene probably looked casual and light to the average person, but every member of Corporal McDavid’s team knew the dangers. They had all been shot at before.
On March 10, 2008, Corporal McDavid and his company were conducting just such a patrol in what used to be Baghdad’s most elegant shopping district. The day seemed just like any other as they chatted with one of the shop owners late in the afternoon.
As they spoke, a man in his 30s approached the group. He was wearing a vest packed with explosives but not no one saw it. The man started to talk to the group, then suddenly the suicide bomber detonated the bombs buried in his vest. The explosion killed five soldiers, including Corporal McDavid, and wounded three more. It was the deadliest day US soldiers had seen in Baghdad in almost a year.
The blast that rocked Baghdad that day also rocked Starkville, where Corporal McDavid called home.
Click here to read the rest of CPL Robert Taylor McDavid's story at www.40DaysofHonor.com.