Miss. soldier killed in Iraq

Published 10:45 pm Saturday, October 18, 2008

Army Pfc. Christopher A. McCraw was an energetic young man who was looking forward to coming home from Iraq and marrying the mother of his young son.

The 23-year-old Columbia native died Tuesday when he came under attack while on a patrol in Baghdad, the Department of Defense said Thursday.

“The whole family is pretty much in shock,” said the soldier’s uncle, Jerry McCraw. “It’s about the worst thing you can have is a military chaplain and (a sergeant) show up at your house.”

At least 67 people from Mississippi or with strong ties to the state have died in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The majority, like McCraw, died in Iraq.

“He was a good kid. He was there doing his duty for us,” Jerry McCraw said Thursday in a telephone interview. “He was always a happy kid, a bursting-with-energy-type kid. I guess what you would call a perfect soldier.”

A message McCraw wrote before his death on his MySpace.com page said: “For man hath no greater love than he that would lay down his own life for his friends.”

Christopher McCraw’s brother also served in Iraq and came home two years ago with post-traumatic stress disorder, their uncle said. Christopher McCraw was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 21st Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade, 25th Infantry Division, Schofield Barracks, Hawaii.