Wednesday, September 26, 2007

David L. Watson dies 'of injuries suffered from a non-combat related accident'

The Department of Defense has confirmed that Spc. David L. Watson, 29, died Sept. 22 in Baqubah, Iraq, of injuries sustained in a non-combate related accident.

Watson was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 23rd Infantry Regiment, 4th Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division (Stryker Brigade Combat Team), Fort Lewis, Wash.

Watson, a 1996 graduate of Tuckerman High School, was a combat medic in Iraq.

People remembered him Monday as a "good man."

"David was one of the nicest young men I ever taught," retired Tuckerman teacher Ruth Jones said. "I never saw him lose his temper and he really loved his mother and was real protective of her."

His mother, Linda Watson, is a pre-school teacher at Tuckerman Elementary School, and the district is seeking out ways to help one of their own.

According to Superintendent Chester Shannon, the campus has been opened to the family for whatever needs they may have including funeral arrangements.

"They have an extended family so they are going to use our campus for the meals and for the funeral arrangements," Shannon said.

"I feel honored to have a graduate who is now a hero, it is just such a privilege to be able to offer the use of our campus to honor him and his family."

He added, "You just hurt for someone that you think so much of. We will do our best to play a part in honoring him and his family and make the situation the best for them that we can."

Although Shannon did not know Watson personally, he knowingly recognized the love of family in the fallen soldier.

"I didn't know David Watson personally but I do know the family - the grandmother and the mom - and I know what kind of family that it is. I know his uncle, Col. Bobo, and everything I hear about him or his family has always been positive. So I know that he was a good man and a good person and he comes from a good family," Shannon noted.

The news of Watson's passing evoked many emotions for those who knew David and his family.

"It was special because he was a graduate; and it was special because he was such a good person; but it was also special because he was serving his country," said Shannon.

He added, "But, what really brings it home is when you see an employee that you think the world of go through something like that it is just such an emotional and devastating thing."

Like the school district, the City of Tuckerman has already began making plans to honor one of their own, according to Mayor Gerald Jackson.

"The city will be lining Highway 67 with American flags and we are also encouraging our citizens to place yellow ribbons in their yards and on their homes as a tribute," Jackson said.

"We are also considering a memorial in his honor."

Regardless of what is done to honor Watson, those who knew him are the ones who feel truly blessed.

"He never had any enemies. He was proud of his family and he was proud of the service," Jones noted. "He was one of the good guys."

Jackson County Judge Kerry Tharpe has issued a proclamation designating the week of Sept. 24-30 as a week of Remembrance and Celebration of the life of Spc. David L. Watson and ordered all flags in Jackson County to be lowered half staff through Sunday, Sept. 29.

From the Newport Independent