Operation Iraqi Freedom, Fallen Heroes, Iraq War 03/19/03

Travis Wayne Nixon

Travis Wayne Nixon

Shreveport, Louisiana

October 29, 2005

Age Military Rank Unit/Location
24 Army SSG

2nd Battalion, 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 1st Brigade, 82nd Airborne Division

Fort Bragg, North Carolina

 Died from injuries sustained north of Lwara, Afghanistan, on Oct. 29, when his patrol was attacked by enemy forces using small arms fire and rocket-propelled grenades.

For memorial service snapshots, click photo below.

November 6, 2005

He was born in Shreveport Louisiana, Childhood in St John/Pine City Washington, and most currently from Fayetteville North Carolina where his folks currently reside.

 November 1, 2005 Moscow-Pullman Daily News www.DNews.com  
More Than A Number
By Kate Baldwin
Daily News staff writer

A son of Pine City died Saturday while serving in Afghanistan. Those who 
knew him say he died because he gave more than was asked of him — the 
ideal that defined his life.
Staff sergeant Travis Wayne Nixon, 24, was nearing the end of his third 
overseas deployment with the United States Army when an enemy ambush 
surprised his squad while on patrol near Lwara on the Pakistani border. “My understanding is that he was squad leader; he died making sure his 
squad got to safety in an ambush,” said Frank Watson, Nixon’s high 
school football coach and teacher. “I was not surprised Travis would do 
that. If his job was to lead his men, he would lead his men the best way 
he knew how.”
His mother, Maggie Nixon, told his former hometown newspaper, The 
Community Current, that he was the only casualty. “He alerted his squad 
of nine men of the danger and no one else was hurt.”
Dan Harwood, of nearby St. John, considered Nixon to be a second son 
after watching him grow up as the best friend of his own son Randy. “One 
thing that everyone needs to know about Travis, he firmly believed in 
our country and he believed in what he was doing in Afghanistan.” “One of the things that was real evident, and this came from his mom, 
was that he wanted to be able to help the people of Afghanistan to be 
free, to be independent, and to not be bullied,” Harwood said. The 1999 graduate of St. John-Endicott High School enlisted the summer 
before his senior year of high school. He entered the service after 
graduation.
“You aimed Travis,” Watson said. “He would walk around and you could 
tell he was a little coiled spring but it wasn’t all physical. He would 
attack music the way he did football, the way he did being a soldier.” Nixon had a passion for music and played the alto sax through his years 
in middle school and high school.
Billy Ray, Jr. was Nixon’s band instructor, and his junior high baseball 
and football coach. He remembered that Nixon would trudge in at 7:30 or 
7:45 in the morning to practice with the high school jazz band because 
it was “one of his biggest loves.”
“He was very passionate about music,” said Ray, who remembered Nixon’s 
fondness for big band and talking with him about Benny Goodman and Tommy 
Dorsey.
He said plans are forming to create a scholarship for St. John-Endicott 
students pursuing education in music, “that his name, his love, will 
have a part of.” Ray shared his favorite story about Nixon that happened 
after the last band concert his senior year.
“Traditionally I say goodbye to the audience and thank you for coming, I 
stick around to put stuff away, until 11 o’clock or however long it 
takes,” Ray said. As he was stacking chairs, he heard footsteps coming 
up behind him. He turned around and found Nixon.
“He said, ‘Well you can’t put all this stuff away yourself,’” Ray said. 
“He always gave more than I asked for.”
“He was a good kid, one of those freckled-face kids that you wonder what 
to do with sometimes ... what you don’t realize is that he figured it 
out,” Watson said. “That is what teaching is about, give them enough 
information for them to figure it out themselves.”
He remembered the moment Nixon decided to be a soldier. A class project 
caused the students in Nixon’s 23-person graduating class to examine 
possible vocations for after graduation. Watson said Nixon’s first 
choice was engineer. “If you knew Travis, that would be hard to believe.” “He said, ‘Coach, what’s calculus?’” Watson said. After an explanation, Nixon went back to the drawing board. “He was 16 years old when he decided to be a soldier, and he was good at 
it,” Watson said.
Sometimes in life there are turning points, Watson said. Sometimes 
they’re sharp and sometimes they’re not. “When he got to be mature 
enough to realize he wasn’t going anywhere in advanced math, he found 
something he could be successful at.”
Watson explained how Nixon became a son of the rural community by 
comparing it to the time Watson first brought his baby granddaughter to 
a basketball game. He said people held her and passed her up through the 
crowd. It took him a couple years to figure out and realize that “They 
did that to all new babies.” He said everybody touched and held that 
baby and assumed a responsibility for its growth and development. People 
still consider her one of theirs. He said when Travis Nixon moved to 
town in about the sixth grade the same thing happened to him, despite 
being in the sixth grade.
“People touched Travis Nixon, he became one of ours and we became 
responsible for his growth and development. He grew and developed into 
something to be proud of,” Watson said. “Even if you don’t give birth to 
them they’re still your kids.”
“You should’ve seen his grin,” said Watson, who described Nixon as “a 
little kid, a rusty-headed, freckle-faced kid, with grins way back to 
his ears.
“I think just looking back, if he could do anything over again, I don’t 
think he would’ve changed a thing,” Ray said.
“A lot of people are having a difficult time with it, myself included,” 
Ray said. “It’s never easy to lose someone that young, that unexpected. 
It’s really hard to fathom. I think a lot of the community is still 
pretty numb. We’re trying to cope, to soak it in and understand, I know 
there’s been many phones calls to Nick and Maggie Nixon, Travis’ 
parents.” The Nixons moved away from town after Travis graduated. Watson knew Nixon’s mother, Maggie, who was a bus driver for the school 
district and would drive the team to games. He said he believed that 
when she got the call telling her that her son was the 23rd, or whatever 
number, American fatality in Afghanistan this year, she responded, “He’s 
not going to be a number.”
Watson said, “That wasn’t (a number) that was killed. That was Travis 
Nixon, and he was one of ours.
“He was more than a number.”
n A memorial service is scheduled to remember Travis Nixon on Sunday at 
3 p.m. at the Kenova Grange in Pine City. Also on Sunday, there will be 
a military service in Raleigh, N.C., where Nixon will receive the Bronze 
Star and Purple Heart medals posthumously. On Thursday, a tribute to 
the armed forces will be held at St. John-Endicott High School at 9:15 
a.m. There will be a tribute to Nixon as part of the service. Kate Baldwin can be reached at (208) 82-5561, ext. 239, and by e-mail at 
kbaldwin[at]dnews.com.

From Sharon Kile 11/08/05:

Thank you for your dedication to our young men and women who serve so that we remain free.

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