Thursday, October 16, 2008

Another Mississippi Soldier...

The Columbian Progress

Columbia resident makes the ultimate sacrifice in Iraq...

Private First-Class Christopher A.(Chris) McCraw, son of Avon McCraw and Cathy McCraw, both of Columbia, was killed in Iraq this week. He was 23 years old and joined the Army in Feb. 2006. He went to Basic Training at Fort Benning, Ga., where he graduated in June 2006. McCraw had been stationed in Hawaii prior to being deployed to Iraq in Dec. 2007. In Iraq he was stationed at Camp Liberty outside Baghdad. McCraw attended city schools until his family moved to North Carolina in the late 1990’s. He graduated high school there prior to the family moving back to Columbia.

The Clarion Ledger

Avon McCraw clearly remembers the last time he talked with his son, Pfc. Christopher McCraw.

"I was talking with him on the cell phone, and he was laughing when it cut out," said Avon, of Marion County. "That was the last time I got to hear his voice, his laughter."

Christopher McCraw, 23, died Tuesday in Baghdad from wounds suffered when he encountered small-arms fire while on patrol, according to the Department of Defense.

At least 67 people from Mississippi or with strong ties to the state have died in the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. Christopher McCraw is the third soldier from Marion County to be killed in Iraq.

"We all knew the danger was there, but I didn't expect this to happen," Avon McCraw said. "I'll probably never get over it, but I don't want to because he was my child."

Christopher McCraw comes from a family of soldiers, with Avon's brothers, Jerry and Monroe, both having served in the Army. Christopher McCraw's brother also served in Iraq and came home two years ago with post-traumatic stress disorder, a family member said.

Christopher McCraw was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 21st Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade, 25th Infantry Division at Schofield Barracks in Hawaii and was looking forward to coming home from Iraq and marrying the mother of his young son.

There was no mistaking Christopher's sweet sense of humor, friends said.

"Chris was just a charmer, an all around, happy-go-lucky kid," said Wendy Bracey, his Sunday school teacher at Woodlawn Pentecostal Church in Columbia. "He was a prankster with a sweet smile. I remember he would always sneak up behind me, then tap me on my shoulder trying to scare me."

Christopher McCraw called Columbia home until his parents separated as he entered high school. He moved with his mother to North Carolina, where he eventually graduated.

Jerron Carney, 28, of Columbia said Christopher was always loyal to his friends in Mississippi and would always stop by to say hello when he was in town.

On Oct. 1, Christopher McCraw sent Carney a message on MySpace checking in on Carney and his family.

"He was a favorite of mine. He will be missed by a lot of people, and I know I'm one of them," he said.

A message Christopher McCraw wrote before his death on his page said: "For man hath no greater love than that he would lay down his own life for his friends."

Avon McCraw said he supported his son's decision to join the military.

"He loved his job. He was a true soldier," he said. "He never mentioned anything about being scared, which is why I say he was a soldier."


Karen said...

May God bless you for your sacrifice. May you rest in peace now, you've done your time in hell.

Greta Perry said...

Thoughts and prayers go out to the friends and family of this great American hero.


Soldiers Angels


Flame of Life

Aleksandr V. Ivantsov