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Army Cpl. David L. Watson

Died September 22, 2007 Serving During Operation Iraqi Freedom

29, of Newport, Ark.; assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 23rd Infantry Regiment, 4th Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division (Stryker Brigade Combat Team), Fort Lewis, Wash.; died Sept. 22 in Baqubah, Iraq, of injuries sustained in a non-combat-related accident.

Newport soldier dies in non-combat accident in Iraq

The Associated Press

LITTLE ROCK — A soldier from Arkansas died Sept. 22 in Iraq in what the military described as a non-combat-related accident.

An Army news release Sept. 24 says the death of Army Spc. David L. Watson, 29, of Newport, remains under investigation. Watson was assigned to a Stryker Brigade Combat Team in the 2nd Battalion, 23rd Infantry Regiment, 4th Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division, based out of Fort Lewis, Wash. His brigade deployed in April to Iraq.

The Army did not release any other details surrounding Watson’s death in Baqubah, a city northeast of Baghdad on the Diyala River.

Watson’s sister, Christal Hill, said his body arrived in Dover, Del., on Sept. 24. A funeral is planned for Tuckerman High School to accommodate his large extended family and the community, she said.

“He wanted to make sure he did what was best for his family, to make sure they were taken care of,” Hill told The Jonesboro Sun newspaper. “It’s sad to say they’ll be taken care of, but at the expense of his life.”

Watson is survived by his mother, Linda Watson; wife, Lisa Watson of Newport; and his two children, Dayton, 4, and Caelan, 8.

His mother said she missed a telephone call Sept. 21 from Watson.

“He told me he was getting to go to a hospital setting [to work] and not to worry, he was going to be safe,” Linda Watson said.

She said she saved all of her son’s voicemail messages “from the time he got on the plane.”

“I didn’t know why. I’ll probably never erase them,” she said.

Watson entered military service in February 1997. His most recent term of active service began in September 2005. He reported to Fort Lewis in June 2006 after completing advanced individual training as a combat medic.

Watson is the 52nd Arkansas soldier to be killed during the Iraq war.

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