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Army Sgt. Craig L. Nelson

Died December 29, 2004 Serving During Operation Iraqi Freedom

21, of Bossier City, La.; assigned to the 1st Battalion, 156th Armor Regiment, Louisiana Army National Guard, Shreveport, La.; died Dec. 29 at the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, Md., of injuries sustained Dec. 16 when an improvised explosive device detonated near his military vehicle in Baghdad.

Mourners bid farewell to soldier who died of Iraq wounds

Associated Press

BOSSIER CITY, La. — An overflow crowd gathered at a Baptist church here Wednesday for the funeral of Sgt. Craig Nelson, a National Guardsman who was posthumously promoted to the rank of sergeant after his death from wounds suffered in Iraq.

A spokeswoman for First Baptist Church of Bossier says about 1,200 people attended the service.

Following the church services, dozens of people lined the route of the procession to Hillcrest Cemetery. Many of the people along the procession route said they had never met Nelson but wanted to be there to show their sympathy and respect. A fire truck parked at the edge of the cemetery had a huge American flag lifted into the air from the truck’s ladder. Nelson was buried with full military honors.

One woman along the funeral procession, Suzanne Knotts, held a sign that read “WE WILL REMEMBER YOU CRAIG.”

“He gave the ultimate sacrifice,” Knotts said. “We just did this last week with my brother’s best friend, Christopher Barnett, who was killed in Baghdad. We just buried him last week in Baton Rouge.”

Barnett, also based out of Shreveport’s Fort Humbug, was killed by a roadside bomb on the outskirts of Baghdad. He was buried in Baton Rouge on New Year’s Eve.

Nelson, a graduate of Airline High School, was injured by a roadside bomb while on patrol in Iraq nearly three weeks ago. Nelson died last week at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C.

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