Corporal Christopher K. Willis grew up in Paw Paw, Michigan, joined the Marines in 1999 and completed his boot camp training at Camp Pendleton, California, in December of 1999. Christopher graduated from USMC Engineering School at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, in April of 2000 with a 4.0 GPA (2nd in a class of 40).
After Lejeune, he was attached to Bridge Company Alpha, 6th Engineer Support Company, 4th FSSG in Battle Creek, Michigan. In early 2003, Lance Corporal Willis was activated by the USMC.
Corporal Christopher Kelly Willis
After deployment to Kuwait, and just prior to the beginning of Operation Iraqi Freedom, he was hand selected for the Marine Reconnaissance Team and was on the front lines as his seven man team scouted the forward area for the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force.
Christopher came home a hero to Paw Paw, Michigan, in June of 2003. Six weeks later, on July 18, 2003, while still on active duty, Lance Corporal Willis, at the age of 24, died in a tragic automobile accident on I-94 near Battle Creek, Michigan.
After his death, Christopher was promoted to the rank of Corporal, gaining the title of a Non-Commissioned Officer and gaining his NCO blood stripe. Corporal Willis was buried with full military honors in Fort Custer National Cemetery, Battle Creek, Michigan.