Sunday, March 25, 2007

Nathan Windsor laid to rest

ST. HELENS -- Three weeks ago, Lance Cpl. Nathanial "Nathan" Windsor phoned the grieving mother of a fellow Marine and promised to visit her when he returned from Iraq.

"He said he'd still come to my house and be a surrogate big brother to Blake's little sister," said Audrey Nichka, 42, of Glendora, Calif. Her son, Blake Howey, was killed Feb. 18 after his convoy was struck by a roadside bomb in Fallujah.

But Windsor of Newport never got the chance to keep his promise.

While on patrol March 11 in Iraq's Anbar province, he took a sniper's bullet to the neck and died less than an hour later, according to family and military reports.

On Sunday, Nichka was one of more than 200 people who attended Windsor's funeral at the Columbia Funeral Home in St. Helens.

"I can't believe Nathan is gone, too," she said tearfully, motioning toward Windsor's flag-draped casket. "I can't believe they're both gone."

Windsor and Howey both were assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, I Marine Expeditionary Force at Twentynine Palms, Calif. Both were deployed to Iraq on Jan. 24. And both died at age 20.

Windsor was the 91st member of the military from Oregon or Southwest Washington to die in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

He was doing a sweep in the area while on patrol with his unit. The Marines were questioning about 60 detainees when another Marine heard a single shot ring out and saw Windsor collapse.

Windsor was remembered through tears and laughter Sunday as a young man who loved to play video games and dreamed of becoming a film producer.

He graduated from Newport High School in 2005. Four months later, one day after his 19th birthday, he enlisted for the primary purpose of saving enough money to attend Full Sail Real World Education, a film school in Winter Park, Fla.

Windsor didn't tell his father about the enlistment until after completing basic training.

"I made it clear to him that real-life military wasn't like a video game," said Robert Windsor of Gladstone. "I called the military myself and found out he was at basic training."

A few months later, Robert Windsor said his son showed up at his front door, his shoulder-length locks replaced by a crew cut. "I told him I already knew, then showed him my 'I'm a Marine dad' bumper sticker."

On his page at, Nathan Windsor showed pride in his decision to join the U.S. Marines, choosing the moniker "savior of the broken."

He first heard the phrase in the lyrics of "Welcome to the Black Parade," a song by his favorite band, My Chemical Romance. Windsor's family chose to play the song at Sunday's service.

"I wish I could have taken that bullet for you, son," Robert Windsor said Sunday. "My son is a hero."

In addition to his father, Windsor is survived by his mother and stepfather, Leslie and David Elliott of Scappoose; and his younger half-brother, Lucas Elliott.

From the Oregonian

Related Link:
Nathan Windsor remembered

Related Link:
Nathan Windsor reported killed in Iraq