Marine LCPL
Union City, MI
Operation Iraqi Freedom
Memorial Location: 

Union City Veterans Park
N. Broadway at E. High Street
Union City, MI

Assigned to 2nd Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, 1st Marine Expeditionary Force, TwentyNine Palms, CA

Killed by an improvised explosive device during combat operations near Fallujah, Iraq.

Lance Corporal Craig Nolan Watson was born on March 3, 1984, in Great Bend Kansas. That day also marked the beginning of what would become a lifetime of whole-hearted dedication. He held a great many things near and dear to his heart, with God, family, friends and country topping the list. As a child he developed close bonds with everyone in his family and as he grew, so did the depth of his devotion to them. He dreamed of one day being able to buy his mother a home of her own and help his younger brothers to become good men. He also held a life long passion for many sports, including football, track, wrestling and racing. He spent as much time playing, watching and learning about them as he could and was always ready to talk about them. His favorite sport was football; he played it from the age of seven all the way through high school. He also participated on his high school’s track team for two years and on its wrestling team for three years. He excelled at all of them. Along with his devotion to so many things came a great love of a good joke. His friends and teammates knew him as a lighthearted jokester who was both instigator and participant in countless practical jokes and pranks. He also made sure everyone knew who was behind his hi-jinks. He love retelling the stories of them with his characteristic wide Cheshire grin lighting up his face, almost as much as he loved carrying them out in the first place. Craig was also widely known for his strong reputation as stern defender of the weak; he was never afraid to stand up for people or fight for their right to be themselves, regardless of whom it was he was defending. He was also always ready to defend himself and to fight for justice in general; he was never willing to abandon or disregard his morals. It was this strong sense to unfailingly serve what is right, along with his fondness for athleticism and his dedication to his country, which led him to join the Marines immediately after graduating high school in 2003.

Craig left for boot camp on June 23, 2003, just twenty-two days after his June 1st graduation ceremony. He finished Marine training (which included three months of boot camp in San Diego and three months at the School of Infantry at Camp Pendleton), on December 19, 2003, and began his first tour of duty in Iraq just two month later in February of 2004. That tour ended and he was able to return to the United States for ten months beginning in September of that year, during which time he was able to reconnect with both his immediate and extended families. He even made a special trip from Las Vegas to Los Angeles to spend an afternoon with two of his aunts and several cousins in February of 2005. He left for his second tour of duty on Independence Day in 2005. Unfortunately, he was among the ten young Marines killed in action near Fallujah, Iraq on December 1, 2005. He was soon after escorted back to his home by his best friend, Lance Corporal Corey Douglas and laid to rest in Riverside Cemetery in Union City, Michigan, the small, quiet hometown he held so dear. Friends, family and strangers from all over the country turned out to honor him for his sacrifice and bid him goodbye. He is survived by his mother, Ms. Shirley Watson, his father, Mr. Jay Watson, his older brother James Deaton and his two younger brothers Bradley and Kevin Watson. Craig had an incredible strength of mind, body and spirit, and he encouraged others to strive for the same, steadfastly encouraging and reassuring his family and friends with his motto of “Be strong.” We will always both honor the memory and miss the presence of our hero Lance Corporal Craig “Oompa” Watson, but we will never forget our son, brother, nephew, cousin and friend.

Lance Corporal Craig N. Watson’s awards and decorations include; the Purple Heart Medal, the Good Conduct Medal, the National Defense Service Medal, the Iraqi Campaign Medal, the Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Sea Service Deployment Ribbon with one Bronze Star, Combat Action Ribbon, and the Rifle Expert Badge (2nd award).


Donald L. Wheeler

Army SPC

Died 10/13/2003

Age 22

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David A. Hartman

Army Reserve SFC

Died 07/17/2004

Age 41

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Curtis L. Norris

Army SGT

Died 12/23/2006

Age 28

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Aaron D. Jagger

Army SFC

Died 08/09/2006

Age 43

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Robert A. Massarelli

Army SSG

Died 06/24/2012

Age 32

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William L. Payne

Army MSG

Died 05/16/2005

Age 46

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Wilson A. Algrim

National Guard PFC

Died 12/23/2006

Age 21

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Joshua V. Youmans

National Guard SGT

Died 03/01/2006

Age 26

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Gregory T. Kuhse

Air Force MSG

Died 10/11/2015

Age 38

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Kevin G. Nave

Marine MAJ

Died 03/26/2003

Age 36

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