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- The People Behind The Sacrifice
Army Pfc. Christopher A. McCraw
Died October 14, 2008 Serving During Operation Iraqi Freedom
23, of Columbia, Miss.; assigned to the 1st Battalion, 21st Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade, 25th Infantry Division, Schofield Barracks, Hawaii; died Oct. 14 in Baghdad of wounds sustained when he encountered small arms fire while on dismounted patrol.
Slain soldier known for humor
By Nicklaus Lovelady
The (Jackson) 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 MySpace.com 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.”
‘Happy-go-lucky’ soldier led by example
The Associated Press
From Pfc. Christopher A. McCraw’s childhood to his adult years, those who knew him couldn’t help but be touched by his jovial personality.
“Chris was just a charm an all around happy-go-lucky kid,” said Wendy Bracey, his Sunday school teacher. “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.”
McCraw, 23, of Columbia, Miss., died Oct. 14 of injuries from small-arms fire in Nasar Wa Salam. He was assigned to Schofield Barracks.
“In his unit, he was very respected,” Brig. Gen. Genaro Dellarocco said. “He never accepted defeat. Never left a comrade behind. He set the example for many others in his platoon.”
The Rev. Jerron Carney characterized McCraw as a food aficionado — his favorite dishes being shepherd’s pie, banana pudding and Swiss cake rolls — and a prankster. “If he wasn’t telling a joke, he was pulling a joke.”
He is survived by his 15-month-old son, Issac, and fiancee Brianna Bell.
“He was always a happy kid, a bursting-with-energy-type kid, I guess what you would call a perfect soldier,” said uncle Jerry McCraw.