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East Tennessee youth has few memories of war that took his father

Matt Lakin • Mar 17, 2013 at 9:56 AM

DANDRIDGE — To Jacob Watts, his father’s a man in a photo, a flag in his room and a name his grandmother sometimes calls him by mistake.

Jacob was 5 years old when Petty Officer 2nd Class Chris Watts died April 24, 2004, in a suicide bomber’s attack near an oil terminal on the Persian Gulf outside Basra, Iraq — the only sailor from East Tennessee killed in the Iraq War. Jacob’s now 13.

Jacob remembers his father’s face but not his voice, a few moments out of five years — a trip here, a walk there, a round of video games, a present on his birthday, the folded flag a sailor handed him as his father’s casket sank into the ground.

“I think that was the first time I’d been to a funeral,” he said.

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