Monday, July 23, 2007

Brandon Craig remembered

The latest Fort Lewis soldier killed in Iraq was a former homecoming king and the first soldier from his small Maryland farming town to die since the war’s beginning, according to his mother.

Cpl. Brandon M. Craig, 25, was killed Thursday when his vehicle struck a roadside bomb in Husayniyah.

Craig, from Earleville, Md., was assigned to Headquarters Company of the 4th Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division. He enlisted in the Army on Feb. 8, 2006, and was assigned to Fort Lewis that June.

His widow, Jodi, is a specialist in the 23rd Chemical Battalion, also at Fort Lewis. They have no children.

“He was Mr. Personality Plus,” his mother, Mary Jane Craig, said Friday. “He wanted to better his life and be something in this world. He loved the Army and believed in the Army.”

Craig is the third Fort Lewis soldier to die in Iraq this month – a period of relative calm after a spike of deadly violence between April and June.

He is the 16th member of his Stryker brigade to be killed in Iraq since deploying there this spring.

His mother said the death has shocked the northeast Maryland community of 2,500 that has no stoplights or stop signs.

Craig talked to his mother for the last time Sunday. She said he talked about the heat and was eager for November to arrive. That’s when he was scheduled to come home on leave.

Todd Shives, who coached Craig in football at Bohemia Manor High School in nearby Chesapeake City, said Craig was one of the most popular guys at school and was selected homecoming king.

He spent much of his free time hunting.

“We’ve had four of our guys deployed to Iraq and I pray for them all the time,” Shives said. “Our school is very family-oriented. When word gets out to everyone there, it will be devastating.”

Shives praised Craig’s work ethic and said he was a three-year starter during one of the most successful streaks in school history. More impressive, Shives said, was Craig’s attitude.

“He was a really comical kid,” he said. “He was just so light-hearted. But when it was time to be serious, he was serious. You couldn’t ask for a nicer kid.

“It rips my guts out to hear what happened.”

From the News Tribune

Related Link:
Brandon M. Craig dies 'of wounds sustained from an improvised explosive device'