Mideast edition, Tuesday, June 26, 2007

SCHWEINFURT, Germany — In what has become an all-too-common occurrence, friends, family members and soldiers of Schweinfurt’s “Dagger Brigade” came together Monday at Ledward Barracks chapel in remembrance of two fallen soldiers.

One of the soldiers, Staff Sgt. Juan Francisco Campos, 27, of 1st Battalion, 26th Infantry Regiment, had served honorably for three years and left the active Army before the events of Sept. 11, 2001, caused him to re-enlist.

The other, Sgt. Kimel Lincola Watt, 21, of 1st Battalion, 7th Field Artillery Regiment, died June 3, just a month before he was to be sworn in as a U.S. citizen on Independence Day.

Injured in a May 14 roadside bomb blast in Baghdad that took the life of Spc. Nicholas S. Hartge and injured three others, Campos hung on for 18 days before succumbing to his injuries at Brooke Army Medical Center, Fort Sam Houston, Texas, on June 1. He was a native of nearby Houston and members of Campos’ family were with him when he died.

Members of 1-26’s rear detachment in Schweinfurt read words spoken by Campos’ comrades at a June 10 memorial in Baghdad.

Remembered as mature and dedicated, Campos was described as a “great leader, good friend and loving husband and father who was respected by his warrior peers and leaders alike,” read Staff Sgt. Raja A. Richardson.

“(Campos) was destined for a successful Army career … soldiers who served with (Campos) received the best training, leadership and mentorship,” read Capt. Jacob E. White, commander of 1-26’s rear detachment. Campos had re-enlisted for another four years of active service shortly before he died.

A 1-26 “Blue Spader” since August 2003, Campos had deployed with his unit to Iraq in 2004. He is survived by his wife, Jamie Drury-Campos; stepson Andres Ibarra; mother Maria Campos; four brothers, and two sisters.

“Watt was a great man and a great young (noncommissioned officer),” read Capt. Robert N. Collier, repeating words spoken at a similar Baghdad service for Watt.

The youngest NCO in his platoon, Watt was born in Manchester, Jamaica, and moved to Brooklyn, N.Y., as a child. After serving two years in South Korea, Watt was assigned to 1-7 in July — mere weeks before deploying.

Friends remembered him for his infectious smile and great personal drive, saying that he put 100 percent of himself into everything he did. Just 16 at the time of the Sept. 11 attacks, Watt enlisted both to gain citizenship and to make his family proud. Just mentioning his upcoming naturalization ceremony would light up Watt’s face, his friends said.

Killed on June 3 by a roadside bomb in Abu Ghraib, Iraq, he is survived by his parents, Clifton and Naomi Watt, and 11 siblings.

The 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division, or “Dagger Brigade,” deployed to Iraq in August and September and is due to come home in October, meaning most of the unit will have spent 14 months in Iraq.

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