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Army Spc. Andre Craig Jr.

Died June 25, 2007 Serving During Operation Iraqi Freedom


24, of New Haven, Conn.; assigned to 2nd Battalion, 16th Infantry Regiment, 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division, Fort Riley, Kan.; died June 25 in Baghdad of wounds sustained from an improvised explosive device.

New Haven soldier dies in Iraq

The Associated Press

NEW HAVEN, Conn. — A New Haven soldier whose daughter was born earlier this year has been killed in Iraq by a roadside bomb, the governor’s office said June 27.

Army Spc. Andre Craig, a graduate of Wilbur Cross High School, died June 25 in Baghdad when a bomb exploded near the convoy on which he was serving as a gunner.

Craig, 24, returned to New Haven recently for a brief visit to celebrate his birthday and to meet his infant daughter, Taylor, who was born while he was serving in Iraq.

The governor has ordered that flags be flown at half-staff until Craig’s burial.

“He took on the most hazardous duties to protect our country’s freedom,” Rell said in a statement. “His bravery, his courage and the sacrifice he made for each and every one of us will never be forgotten.”

Craig was the 38th military member with Connecticut ties to die since the war began in 2002. Two Connecticut civilians have also been killed.

Craig lived with his 20-year-old brother, Jonathan, and was known to friends, family and children in his neighborhood as “Dre,” according to neighbors.

Craig and his five siblings were close to their mother, a nurse’s aide at the Hospital of St. Raphael in New Haven, said family friend Khabira Hill.

“He wanted to make her proud,” Hill told The Hartford Courant.

Craig’s family plans to hold a funeral service in New Haven and have him buried in Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia.


Family of slain soldier blames exhaustion

By John Christoffersen

The Associated Press

NEW HAVEN, Conn. — The family of a soldier killed in Iraq on June 25 blamed his death on exhaustion, saying soldiers there are not getting enough rest.

Spc. Andre Craig Jr., 24, of New Haven, died of wounds sustained from the explosion of a roadside bomb in Baghdad.

Craig, a graduate of Wilbur Cross High School, was an infantryman assigned to 2nd Battalion, 16th Infantry Regiment, 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division, in Fort Riley, Kan.

He entered the Army in October 2005 and began serving with the 1st Infantry Division in March 2006. This was his first deployment to Iraq.

Craig, whose nickname was Dre, called his family by cell phone June 23 to tell them he was on 24-hour security duty, said Erik Brown, his godfather and family spokesman. After that, Craig went out on a mission and was killed, he said.

“He was very tired, he was exhausted,” Brown said June 28. “Due to that exhaustion, we believe that’s why we lost Andre. The soldiers are not getting rest, they’re tired.”

An Army spokeswoman at Fort Riley did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the family’s assertions.

Brown and family members wore T-shirts with Craig’s picture and the words, “Dre 2007 in God we trust.”

Craig, 24, returned to New Haven recently for a brief visit to celebrate his birthday and to meet his infant daughter, Taylor, who was born while he was serving in Iraq.

Craig described “deplorable” conditions in Iraq, including women being raped and feces in the street, Brown said.

“They’re terrorizing each other and we have our soldiers in the middle of a civil war,” Brown said.

Still, Craig was happy doing his job, Brown said. Family and friends said Craig, who had been in Iraq about six months, wanted to be a state trooper and had planned to go to college.

The governor has ordered that flags be flown at half-staff until Craig’s burial.

“He took on the most hazardous duties to protect our country’s freedom,” Rell said in a statement. “His bravery, his courage and the sacrifice he made for each and every one of us will never be forgotten.”

Craig was the 38th military member with Connecticut ties to die since the war began in 2002. Two Connecticut civilians have also been killed.

Craig lived with his 22-year-old brother, Jonathan.

Craig and his five siblings were close to their mother, a nurse’s aide at the Hospital of St. Raphael in New Haven, said family friend Khabira Hill.

Craig’s family plans to hold a funeral service in New Haven and have him buried in Arlington National Cemetery, Va.

Jonathan Craig’s eyes welled up with tears as he recalled his brother’s last visit with his daughter.

“The last words he said he said to me in the living room is take care of my daughter as if you were a father to her until I come back,” Jonathan Craig said.


Family, friends recall soldier killed in Iraq

The Associated Press

Jonathan Craig’s eyes welled up with tears when he recalled the last visit by his older brother, Army Pfc. Andre Craig Jr.

“The last words he said to me in the living room is take care of my daughter as if you were a father to her until I come back,” Jonathan Craig said.

Craig, 24, of New Haven, Conn., was killed June 25 in Baghdad of wounds from an explosive. He was a 2001 high school graduate and was assigned to Fort Riley, Kan.

Eric Brown, his godfather, said Craig had hoped to use his military service to help with college costs, and that he planned to become a state trooper when he finished his military service.

Ron Rosarbo, a high school security guard for 12 years, said he remembered Craig well. “He was a quiet leader. He always volunteered to do things, move boxes, take down bleachers.”

Jonathan Craig said his older brother had wanted to join the military since childhood and turned down a scholarship to Rutgers University to serve in the Army. “He was trying to help his family,” said his younger brother.

He also is survived by his wife, Shantia, and daughter, Taylor.

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