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Navy Yard shooting victims had long careers there

Published: Tuesday, Sept. 17 2013 5:44 p.m. MDT

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, right, and Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey, second from right, present a wreath at the Navy Memorial in Washington to remember the victims of Monday's deadly shooting at the Washington Navy Yard, Tuesday, Sept. 17, 2013. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

J. Scott Applewhite, Associated Press

WASHINGTON — A dozen people died in a shooting rampage Monday at the Washington Navy Yard. The shooter also was killed.

It was the deadliest attack at a domestic military installation since November 2009, when an Army psychiatrist killed 13 people and wounded 30 others at Fort Hood, Texas. The stories of those who died and survived the Navy Yard shooting have surfaced.

Michael Arnold, 59, of Lorton, Va., was a Navy veteran and avid pilot who was building a light airplane at his home, said his uncle, Steve Hunter.

"It would have been the first plane he ever owned," Hunter said in a telephone interview from Rochester, Mich., Arnold's hometown. "It's partially assembled in his basement."

Hunter said his nephew retired from the Navy as a commander or lieutenant commander and had previously been stationed at Pearl Harbor in Hawaii. He worked at the Navy Yard on a team that designed vessels such as the USS Makin Island, a Wasp-class amphibious assault ship used by the Marine Corps.

Arnold and his wife, Jolanda, had been married for more than 30 years, Hunter said. They had two grown sons, Eric and Christopher.

Hunter said Arnold returned to Michigan for Labor Day to visit his 80-year-old mother, Patricia.

"He was a loving son of his mother and his wife, and great father to his kids," said Hunter. "It's tragic. How can you get up in the morning and go to work and have that happen? How do bad things like that happen to good people?"

Martin Bodrog, 54, lived on a quiet, tree-shaded cul-de-sac in Annandale, Va., where family and friends gathered Tuesday.

Jeff Prowse, a close friend of Bodrog and family spokesman, said Bodrog was a hardworking Navy veteran and graduate of the Naval Academy who cared deeply about his family, his friends and his country.

"A heart of gold, and one of the most humble, self-effacing guys," said Prowse, a burly ex-Marine who paused several times to fight back tears as he talked.

"This is just an absolute tragedy for so many reasons," Prowse said.

Prowse worked with Bodrog at the Pentagon on amphibious vessel programs. He said Bodrog was transferred from the Pentagon to the Navy Yard in January.

Bodrog had been married for 25 years to Melanie, whom he met while she was serving on active duty as a Navy nurse. The couple had three daughters, ages 23, 17 and 16.

Prowse and Bodrog shared a love of the Boston Bruins hockey team and he last spoke to Bodrog about a week ago.

"We were actually getting ready to figure out our Bruins schedule for the year," said Prowse, who retired from the military and now lives in southwest Virginia.

Bodrog was active in his church, where he started a Bible study and helped lead preschool and youth programs, Prowse said. In the winter, Bodrog could be seen in shorts and his Boston Bruins jersey, shoveling the driveways of elderly neighbors.

"The one thing that always stuck out to me about Marty ... was how absolutely driven he was to make sure that the equipment we were giving our Marines and sailors was absolutely the best he could be," Prowse said. "It was not a job for Marty, it was an absolute calling."

Sylvia Frasier, 53, of Waldorf, Md., had worked at Naval Sea Systems Command as an information assurance manager since 2000, according to a LinkedIn profile in her name.

Frasier studied at Strayer University, earning a bachelor of science in computer information systems in 2000 and a master's in information systems in 2002. Her duties at NAVSEA included providing policy and guidance on network security, and assuring that all computer systems operated by the headquarters met Department of Navy and Department of Defense requirements.

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