Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Army Staff Sgt Heathe Craig

Remember Our Heroes

Staff Sgt. Heathe N. Craig, 28, of Severn, Md., died when his UH-60 helicopter hoist malfunctioned while attempting to evacuate Pfc. Bradbury during combat operations. Craig was assigned to the 159th Air Ambulance Medical Company, Wiesbaden, Germany. Died on June 21 in Naray, Afghanistan.

By Martin Weil
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, June 24, 2006; Page A17

A high school wrestling teammate remembered Heathe Craig as someone who was constantly ready with a helping hand.

Craig, 28, an Army staff sergeant, was offering that helping hand in Afghanistan on Wednesday when, according to the Pentagon, something went wrong with his evacuation helicopter and he was killed.

Craig grew up in Mechanicsville, Va., near Richmond, and was one of the better wrestlers in his area while a student at Mechanicsville's Lee-Davis High School.

"He was a great wrestler, great guy," said teammate Ryan Miles. "A good friend, and a good teammate" who was "always there to support anybody who needed it."

In his junior year, Craig was 16-6 in the 119-pound class.

He had wanted to fly helicopters since he joined the Army and was close to qualifying as a pilot, his grandfather Daniel Sloan said last night. "He was happy at his work, and he enjoyed it," he said.

The Pentagon said that another soldier, Pfc. Brian J. Bradbury, 22, of St. Joseph, Mo., was in combat near Naray, Afghanistan, and died after encountering enemy small-arms fire and rocket-propelled grenades.

Craig, who listed his home town as Severn, according to the Pentagon, died "when his UH-60 helicopter hoist malfunctioned" while attempting to evacuate Bradbury.

Craig was assigned to the 159th Air Ambulance Medical Company, based in Wiesbaden, Germany.

Craig was married and lived in Germany, his grandfather said. He and his wife, Judith, had a son and a daughter.

Survivors include his mother and father and a brother, according to the grandfather.

"He grew up," his grandfather said last night, "to be a man. That's all I can say."


Army Sgt. Heathe Craig, 28, a native of Knapp Creek, died Wednesday in Naray, Afghanistan, when his UH-60 helicopter hoist malfunctioned while attempting to evacuate a fellow soldier during combat operations.

His family moved from Knapp Creek to Virginia in 1988, and he graduated from Lee Davis High School in Mechanicsville, Va., in 1997.

Sgt. Craig was assigned to the 159th Air Ambulance Medical Company, based in Wiesbaden, Germany. He was the son of Jeffery Craig of Shinglehouse, Pa., and Donna Sloan, of Eldred, Pa. His wife, Judith, lives in Germany with their two children, ages 5 and 1.

“He was a very good kid,” said his stepmother, Sheila Craig. “He was always wanting to help people. Before he joined the service, he wanted to be a kindergarten teacher.”

She recalled an incident that happened at his graduation from Army training in Oklahoma.

“My daughter was 5 years old at the time, and she fell on a cactus,” Mrs. Craig said. “He was right there to take care of her.”

Sgt. Craig was evacuating Pfc. Brian J. Bradbury, 22, of Saint Joseph, Mo., who was injured when he encountered enemy forces using small arms fire and rocket-propelled grenades during combat operations, according to a press release from the Department of Defense.

“He didn’t go into this war to fight,” his stepmother said. “He did it to help people.”

She said he loved his job enough to re-enlist with the Army following his first term.

“He loved to help people and care for the suffering,” she said. “He was very unselfish.”

Mrs. Craig said his immediate family will travel to Germany for funeral services, as Sgt. Craig’s wife is a native German.

Army Staff Sgt Heathe Craig was killed 06/21/06.


Jeffery said...

I served with SSG Craig. He came to our Forward Surgical Team many, many times way out there in Paktika. Always, he was totally devoted to his patient, regardless of nationality, and there was never any question that he was the man to have on those Dustoff birds for that long flight back to Bagram. His fellow Flight Medics respected him, and mourned his loss as we all did. Rest in peace, Brother.
CPT Jeff Robbins
759th Forward Surgical Team (Airborne)

Brandon said...

Heathe Craig worked with me at Shoney's while we were still in school. He gave me faith in people I didn't have before, the most non-discriminant person I have ever had the pleasure of knowing. He graduated high school with Kenneth Clodfelter, which was one of the 17 soldiers killed in the terrorist attack on the U.S.S Cole.

Edward Walker said...

I didn't have the pleasure of meeting Heathe. I went to school with his father, Jeff, whom I know is so proud. On behalf of my family, I would like the Craig family to know how grateful we are for Heathe's incredible sacrifice, and how we pray to God for Heathe, his family and friends who knew and loved him, let they find comfort and grace through prayers and remembrances. We will not forget you Heathe. You are an Angel of freedom.

Hanna Tiffany said...

Its been 4 years today. He is still missed sooo much among his family and friends. Please never forget him and the unbelivable sacrifice he has made. He is a true hero!! We love you Heathe

SSG Ryan Gislason said...

I can't believe it's been 5 years already. I still remember that night when Heathe passed away. I was on duty when the medevac call came in and I sent the crew in not knowing the situation. My heart sank when I got the call on the radio. I only knew Heathe for a short time but during that time he and the 159th treated me like family.

You are still truely missed Heathe!!

"So that others may live"