Local Marine killed in Iraq
FAMILY MEMORIES Relatives of Chris Mabry, 19, a Marine from southwest Lauderdale County who was killed in action in Iraq, look through family photos Thursday. Standing are Frankie Woodall, left, Chris' aunt, and Keith Mabry, his uncle; seated are Louis A. Mabry Jr., left, Chris' father, and Frances Mabry, his grandmother. Chris was a 2003 graduate of Clarkdale Attendance Center. Photo by Kyle Carter/The Meridian Star
By Fredie Carmichael / staff writer
April 9, 2004
A brown box packed full of Pop-Tarts, M&M's, trail mix, disposable razors and a birthday card are somewhere en route to western Iraq.
The person the box was intended to surprise will never get to open it and see its contents.
Chris Mabry, 19, a U.S. Marine from southwest Lauderdale County, was one of 12 Marines killed in the Sunni Muslim town of Ramadi, Iraq, on Tuesday.
His grandmother, Frances Mabry, mailed the package last week it was supposed to be an early birthday present. Chris, who would have turned 20 on April 29, was killed after being shot in the stomach.
Chris Mabry is the first Lauderdale County resident and one of at least 11 Mississippians to be killed in action in Iraq. In all, at least 441 U.S. troops have been killed in Iraq since the invasion last year to oust Saddam Hussein.
Mabry and other Marines began a major operation this week to crack down on guerrillas in the cities of Ramadi and Falluja, in Iraq's Sunni heartland where most of the insurgency against occupying troops has been.
Frances, who's had custody of Mabry since he was 4, said becoming a Marine was an important accomplishment for her grandson.
Mabry was deployed to Iraq in February, months after becoming a Marine. He signed up to enlist last year during his senior year at Clarkdale Attendance Center.
While at Clarkdale, Mabry played for the school's Bulldog football team. Among other things, he also was a member of the National Honor Society and Who's Who Among America's High School Students.
He was part of the Bulldogs' first winning season in decades during the 2002 campaign.
Frances said her grandson was a great young man who wanted to go to college and open his own body repair shop.
She said she was watching television news coverage of the war in Iraq on Wednesday when Mabry's father, Louis, walked in her front door, fell in her arms and said, "Chris is dead."
Frances said she was in disbelief until she saw four uniformed Marines walk to her doorstep behind Louis.
Mabry's funeral is expected to be held next week after an autopsy has been performed on his body in Denver and then returned to Meridian.