Saturday, March 24, 2007

Nathan Windsor remembered

NEWPORT -- Nathan Windsor went into the U.S. Marines as a skinny kid short on confidence and returned a solid young man, proud of his uniform and sure of himself.

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

"He was patriotic, even as a little kid," said his father, Robert Windsor of Gladstone. "As we have looked back through his photographs and some of his early drawings, it was amazing to see that he put an American flag in his pictures.

"He believed strongly in his country and standing up for what was right. The kid had a heart as big as the ocean."

Nathanial "Nathan" Windsor graduated from Newport High School in 2005. Four months later, one day after his 19th birthday, he enlisted. He was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, I Marine Expeditionary Force at Twentynine Palms, Calif., and was deployed to Iraq on Jan. 24.

Two Marines showed up at Robert Windsor's Gladstone residence Monday to deliver the news that his son had died in western Iraq in one of the country's most volatile regions. He was the 91st member of the military from Oregon or Southwest Washington to die in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The younger Windsor apparently 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 go down, his father said Wednesday.

Friends prepared for a memorial service today at Newport High School, sharing memories of a young man who loved to play video games and dreamed of becoming a film producer.

"We would talk about him becoming a famous director," said Jamie Kauffman, a clerk at Safeway where Windsor worked as a courtesy clerk for about a year. "He had a big imagination, very creative."

Nikki Klein, another Safeway co-worker, recalled how once Windsor had built a fort out of boxes in the bottle room of the store. "He got caught playing his Game Boy by our manager," she said, laughing at the memory. "He loved playing games."

Windsor was a slight guy, about 5-foot-10, according to his page on That meant sometimes people picked on him, Klein said. "But everyone loved Nathan," she added. "He reminded me of the Beatles because he had brown hair with all these curls. All the girls always liked his hair."

Father and son had had words about that head full of tousled hair when the Marine was young, his father said.

"I could never get him to leave the house looking clean and pressed and taking pride in himself, but once he became a Marine he would not leave without the proper crease and everything in line. He was so proud to be a Marine. He always made sure he looked his best whenever he wore that uniform."

In addition to his father, Windsor is survived by his mother and stepfather, Leslie and David Elliott of Scappoose. Before moving to Newport, Windsor attended Reedsport High School.

Last winter, just before he was due to go to Iraq, Windsor was on leave and returned to the coastal town he called home. As the uniformed Marine stood in the grocery store talking to his friends, an older man approached and tapped the young man on the shoulder, Klein recalled.

"He said, 'Thanks for everything you are doing for us.' Nathan smiled and shook the guy's hand, all professional like," she said. "He was all grown up."

From the Oregonian

Related Link:
Nathan Windsor reported killed in Iraq