Mr. Speaker, I rise tonight to pay tribute to a native Houstonian, Walter Moss, Jr., who voluntarily served our Nation in Iraq and who died doing so. He was assigned to the 366th Civil Engineer Squadron, Explosive Ordnance Disposal, or the EOD, Flight as a noncommissioned officer in charge of the EOD Resources Element, Mountain Home Air Force Base in Idaho.

On March 29, 2006, Tech Sergeant Moss became the 200th Texas member of the Armed Forces killed in Iraq. Mr. Speaker, Texans are only 7 percent of the United States population, but make up 10 percent of the volunteers in Iraq and Afghanistan. Further, almost 9 percent of the military deaths in Iraq are Texans.

Additionally, Moss was the first airman from Sather Air Force Base in Iraq to be killed in action during Operation Iraqi Freedom. He was 37 years old. In his long military career, he specialized in the dangerous job of detection and removal of explosive devices.

He was killed while trying to defuse a makeshift bomb while conducting operations near Baghdad. The terrorists in Iraq use the improvised explosive devices, or IEDs, as a cowardly way of murdering Iraqi women, children, civilians and Americans. The terrorist use of IEDs is one of the most dangerous threats to our troops in uniform in Iraq.

Technical Sergeant Moss was the first line of defense between IEDs and his fellow military comrades. Since being deployed to Iraq in January, Sergeant Moss had responded to more than 200 calls. Those 200 calls meant that Moss had perhaps saved the life of an American or Iraqi civilian.

Born in Houston, Texas, Moss attended Aldine High School. He joined the Air Force upon graduation from Aldine and soon married his high school sweetheart Georgina.

From the beginning of his military career, Moss stood out as a leader. His motivation earned him a coveted spot assisting the United States Secret Service. During his 16-year military career, he guarded the likes of former President George H. Bush and the First Lady.

While stationed in Guam, he disposed of 12,500 pounds of hazardous World War II munitions and supported the Secret Service again in protecting Hillary Clinton. In 1997, he and his family were stationed at the 31st CE Squadron, Aviano Air Force Base, Italy. He was handpicked from his unit to provide EOD support during the Middle East peace talks where he ensured then-Secretary of State Madeleine Albright's safety.

Moss had two children, Andrew, 13, and Veronica, 9. A military traveling family, they had already lived with their father in Guam, Italy and Turkey.

Technical Sergeant Moss was deployed in support of Operations Southern Watch, Allied Force, Desert Strike, Northern Watch and Iraqi Freedom. He was awarded the Meritorious Service Medal, the Air Force Commendation Medal with three oak leaf clusters, and the Air Force Achievement Medal with one oak leaf cluster.

Even though he was in the Air Force, the Navy and Marines honored him with the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal, and he will be awarded the Bronze Star with Valor and the Purple Heart.

I attended Technical Sergeant Moss' funeral in Spring, Texas, and I talked to his father Walter Moss, Sr. Walter told me he was proud of his son, proud of the life he chose, and proud of the country he served. At the funeral there were a great number of Air Force personnel, strangers, citizens, family, and even a motorcycle group carrying large American flags.

I would like to extend my prayers and condolences to his father Walter, his mother Rebecca York, his brother Brian, his relatives and friends in Idaho and Texas, his wife Georgina, and his children Andrew and Veronica. He died as he lived: Protecting Americans.

Our hearts are filled with gratitude for the brave airmen such as Technical Sergeant Walter Moss. He sought out danger so others would not face danger. He was a father, a husband and a brother. His unyielding courage was an inspiration to his fellow airmen and his family. He was an American patriot, and he was a cut above the rest of us.

And that's just the way it is.