In honor of Veterans Day, friends remember Gordon Central High School graduate Cody Warren, who lost his life 10 years ago this week while stationed in Iraq serving in the United States Marine Corps.
Lance Corporal Cody Warren died Nov. 10, 2006 in Iraq, the casualty of deadly negligence at the hands of another Marine. He died on the United States Marine Corps birthday, a momentous occasion where Marines past and present celebrate the Corps, but this date means something much more for the people of Calhoun and others who have been touched by him.
Before Warren was the United States Marine that he was destined to become, he was a huge part of the Gordon County community. He was a loyal friend, the drum major of the Gordon Central Blue Wave Band and much more.
“Cody was such a good friend,” said Ashley Williams.”You always knew he had your back and could count on him to set you straight if need be. There were never any dull moments with him.”
“Cody was one of the greatest guys I have known,” said friend David Allen Goforth.”We would go to rodeos together, play ball together; he was just a truly great guy and I miss him every day. He always knew how to make someone smile no matter what.”
Warren was a force of nature. His energy was over-the-top and those closest to him remember his charisma and sense of humor. He had an open heart and made sure his loved ones knew how much he cared for them with the simplest of gestures.
Music was Warren’s passion. The saxophone was his instrument of choice and his talent was noticed by anyone that heard him play. He knew nearly every song in the history of music and could sing a variety of songs spanning many different genres during a fifteen minute trip to school.
The pinnacle of Warren’s musical career was when he auditioned for and won the position of drum major. When Warren became the drum major of the Gordon Central Blue Wave Band, he was able to fully utilize his natural leadership skills. Others observe that Warren knew when he needed to be an effective leader through guided direction, but he also knew how to create a fun environment for those around him.
“We were playing Southeast Whitfield and as our drum section was playing their solo, the band along with Cody was dancing on his drum major podium as always he did every game,” said fellow band member Melea Neely. “Southeast made a touchdown and the cannon they had went off and he almost fell off the podium because it scared him and he laughed and we laughed with him.”
Warren pushed everyone in the band to excel and even disciplined others as needed. He wanted everyone to reach the potential that he knew existed inside of them. Warren even went as far as making band members run laps to get his points across. He was never okay with being mediocre and set himself apart from the crowd with a tireless work ethic.
“He was serious about his position being a drum major but he never forgot to have fun,” said Neely.”He always had a smile on his face and when he took that podium he had his game face on and never missed a beat.
This work ethic also extended to the Marine Corps. Warren’s drive and determination to don the uniform was unlike anything those closest to him had ever seen. He had a smile that couldn’t be removed from his face after graduation of Marine Corps Recruit Training because he had become exactly what he was destined to be. The Marine Corps was everything he wanted and his life had lead up to that point.
On the tenth anniversary of his death, friends and family take the time to pause and reflect on what Warren stood for- he was a young man who had already accomplished much in his young adult life and poured every ounce of passion into everything he did.
“Cody was a wonderful guy and I am thankful that I got the privilege to know him from the time we were in middle school to high school,” said Neely. “He was the best at what he did. He was and is still a Warrior and most of all a hero.”