2nd Lt Johnny K. Craver, 37, from McKinney, was killed in action in
Iraq on Friday, October 13, 2006. Johnny was serving with the
1st Battalion, 22nd Infantry
Regiment, 1st Brigade, 4th Infantry Division out of at
Fort Hood, Texas, when an improvised explosive device exploded near his
vehicle. His unit was involved in combat operations in the area
south of Bagdad when he was killed. Before being deployed to the war zone,
Johnny was a Ranger and a Ranger instructor.
2nd Lt. Johnny K.
Savanah, Natalie, Emma
Caelen and Johnny
Johnny and Natalie
Craver at the Officers Candidate School Ball on the Chattahoochee River...
Georgia. 5 August, 2006.
Andrew Smith and Johnny.
Craver Family, June
(From Phyllis) My son,
Lt. Johnny Craver, Army Ranger Instructor “Rest In Peace”
LOVE YOU, SON!!! AND MISS YOU SO BAD.
(From the Denton
Soldier From McKinney Killed
Craver was son of Denton County's Sheriff's Sergeant
Last year Denton County Sheriff’s Sgt. Phyllis
Broomfield cried with her good friend Charlene Sauseda as Sauseda’s son,
Army Spc. Ernie Dallas Jr., was buried with military honors after he was
killed in Baghdad.
“I looked at her and wondered what it must be like to have to bury your
son,” Broomfield said Monday. “Now, I know.”
Her own son, Army 2nd Lt. Johnny Craver, 37, was killed Friday in a small
town south of Baghdad when he stepped out of the Bradley fighting vehicle
he was commanding and an improvised explosive device blew up under his
feet. Two of his men also were killed and another soldier was injured.
Though their sons never met, the mothers are friends and co-workers at the
Denton County Jail.
Broomfield learned of her son’s death Saturday as she reported for duty at
the jail. Another officer met her inside and led her to an interview room.
“I walked down the hall and the chaplain hugged me and I saw a military
man sitting in that room and I went to my knees,” she said. “I said,
‘Please don’t tell me my son is dead.’”
Sheriff Benny Parkey said Monday that sheriff’s employees were saddened by
the second Iraq war loss in the department. “It’s a tragedy any time a
mother loses a son — on the battlefield or at home,” Parkey said. “Two of
our employees have lost sons in the war. It makes it all the more real and
closer to home. We’d ask that everyone keep this family in their prayers.”
Broomfield reared her son and his younger sister, Sherry, in McKinney. She
almost lost him when he was a teenager, Broomfield said. He was badly
injured in an automobile accident and she was told it would be a miracle
if he lived. She got her miracle then.
When he was 17, he came to her with enlistment papers for her to sign. “I
told him, ‘You go look at that room of yours. They won’t let you keep a
room that messy,’” she said. “But he was determined to join, and when he
finished high school, he did.”
He became a Ranger and later a Ranger instructor. He served in Hawaii and
Alaska and Washington, D.C., but he had not served war duty until he got
his orders last summer. On July 15, he and his wife, Natalie, signed the
documents on their newly-built house near Fort Hood. He left for Iraq that
afternoon, never having slept a night in his new home.
Craver left three children, Savannah, 12, Caelen, 8, and Emma, 3.
Natalie’s father, John Moseley, lives in Denton.
“I don’t know all the details, but Johnny volunteered to go,” Broomfield
said. “He told me he was going to be home Nov. 27. I knew he could take
care of himself. He was always a leader. He had me convinced he was going
to be OK.”
A year ago, he walked his mother down the aisle when she married Dugan
Broomfield, an investigator for the Denton County district attorney’s
They watched Craver on television when he participated in the 2005 Best
Ranger Competition, Phyllis Broomfield said. He had trained for the event
for months. At the end, as he and his partner started up a steep hill, his
partner twisted an ankle. Craver took his partner’s 80-pound rucksack and
carried it, along with his own, to the top of the hill.
He had nearly finished a master’s degree in business management, his
mother said. “Show me a perfect son — that was Johnny,” she said. “Every
Mother’s Day and every birthday he would call me, no matter where he was
in the world.”
Craver’s body is expected to arrive at Dallas/Fort Worth International
Airport on Friday. She expects the funeral to take place early next week.
“I know Johnny died doing what he wanted to do,” Broomfield said. “I’d
call him a hero and he’d say, ‘I’m not a hero. I’m just doing my job.’ But
he was a hero.”
Johnny is buried in a private cemetery near Leonard, Texas.
(click on picture for large view)
The poster on the left is a collage of portraits done by Vietnam Veteran,
Michael Regan. All those pictured have been killed in the War on Terror.
Johnny Craver is 3rd from the left on bottom row.
Denton Record Chronicle -Sunday May 13, 2007
Drawing by Michael G. Reagan
On 23 May, 2007, Fort Hood, Texas, honored the soldiers of
the 4th Infantry Division that have been killed in Iraq.
These photos are from Phyllis Broomfield.
On 24 May, 2007, a ceremony, presided over by Governor
was held to honor all Texas servicemen that have been killed in Iraq.
Pictures from Phyllis
8 August, 2007, Ft. Benning, Georgia at the US ARMY RANGER Memorial.
The ARMY honored all of its fallen rangers on that day
The Boys and Girls Club
of Collin County honored Johnny as their first Gold Alumni member.
Johnny's wife and children: Caelen 9,
Savanah 12, Natalie, and Emma 4.
Dugan and Phyllis
Denton VFW ...
...Wall of Honor
Johnny and his mom, Phyllis, at her wedding.
He Only Took My Hand
Last night while I was trying
My son’s voice I did hear,
I opened my eyes and I looked
But he did not appear
He said," Mom, you’ve got to
You’ve got to understand,
God didn’t take me from you,
He only took my hand.
When I called out in pain that day,
The moment that I died,
He reached down and took my hand,
And pulled me to his side.
He pulled me up and saved me
From the misery and pain.
My body was hurt so badly,
I could never be the same.
I love you all and miss you so,
And I’ll always be nearby.
My body’s gone forever,
But my spirit will never die.
And so, you must all go on now,
And live, and understand
God did not take me from you,
He only took my hand."
In Loving Memory of My Son,
2nd Lt. Johnny Craver 6/23/69 to 10/13/06
Armed Forces Day Banquet
May 16 & 17, 2008
Featured speaker Senator John Cornyn
Honoring all Fallen Soldiers
Phyllis, Senator John Cornyn, Donna Pogue
(who lost her husband in Vietnam)
Tribute to ...
... our Texas ...
... heroes. Houston, 2008
COPING WITH MY LOSS
Since Johnny died I have been asked many times, “How do you do it?” Those
who ask me even add ,“I don't think I could do it.” I usually do not
attempt to answer the question and simply talk about something else.
Sometimes they add, “You're strong, I couldn't do it if it were me.” They
give me the feeling that they love their children more than I love mine.
The first response that I have is, “Do I have a choice?” I wish there was
a formula or a prescription that we could use to help us survive the day.
I wish that there was some magic trick that we could use to remove the
pain. I know that there are drugs for depression and for numbing the pain.
I choose to FEEL THE PAIN. I feel that is a tribute to my son. He is worth
all the pain that I am enduring.
Every morning when I wake up I worry about how I'm going to make it today.
I ask the Lord to help me in my sorrow and despair. I realize that I
cannot carry the burden of sorrows alone and that I need friends to help
Some days I am completely dysfunctional as sudden pains seize my mind. My
very soul bleeds with sorrow. I just sit for hours, cry and wait for the
day to be over. Some days I just go back to bed to sleep my sorrow off.
Whenever I am in bed I pray that I will see Johnny in a dream.
Some days I can only function after I have cried my heart out. After I cry
I feel a bit sane. Some days I keep so busy in order not to grieve. Then I
am fatigued. There are times I can’t stand it anymore and run out of the
house. I try to survive day by day. I do not think about tomorrow. I do
not have tomorrow. I try to love for the moment instead.
Sometimes I feel like I'm going crazy over the loss of Johnny. I get in my
car and drive some where so I can scream. I find that screaming does help
me. After I come back I am so fatigued that I just sit or go to sleep. The
night relieves the day. The next day I have to face the reality of the
loss all over again.
Sometimes I just call people in order to survive. I specially call a lady
who also lost her son to the war in order to be reassured that the pain
will weaken and I can make it someday. I need to be told that I will make
it. I go around the house looking at his pictures. I feel the emptiness
and wonder will it ever end. I go to bed early at times just to get rid of
the hurt and pain.
People tell me that I need to see a therapist as I was told I was
depressed. I told them I am not depressed but I have a broken heart
instead. I realize that healing is going to take time and that a therapist
who did not lose a child knows less than I do about the pain.
Some days I walk from room to room and touch each one of his pictures. I
read the newspaper articles and wonder why my little boy has to be
referred to as “The Hero” or even worse “The Fallen Soldier”. I talk to
him. I see him everywhere I go. I listen to his favorite music, Gary
Stewart and Hank Jr.
I know a lot of people have grieved over the loss of my son, but there is
no love like a mother’s love for her child. You are not suppose to bury
your child; it has changed my life forever.
The last words Johnny said to me were, “don’t worry Mom, I'm going to be
alright”. That was the first promise my precious son ever broke to me.
Now I think of about all the soldiers that died so young due to this war
and I realize that their parents will have to survive and so will I.
I will grieve till the day I am reunited with my precious son, the man,
the son, the brother, the father, the friend, but most of all, MY FALLEN
SOLDIER, LT. JOHNNY KEITH CRAVER