Area guardsman killed in Afghanistan
By Zeke MacCormack
Published 09:36 p.m., Sunday, October 18, 2009
Fredericksburg native Christopher Staats, sent to Afghanistan in March to help farmers, was one of two Texas National Guardsmen killed when an improvised explosive device hit their vehicle Friday.
“Chris' entire goal was to help the Afghan people become self-sufficient,” Monteigne Staats said Sunday of her husband. “I'm so proud of Chris for his hard work, his dedication, his service and belief in helping others.”
Spc. Anthony G. Green, 28, of Yorktown, also died in the attack in Wardak province, which wounded two other soldiers. He and Staats, a 32-year-old staff sergeant, were assigned to the 143rd Infantry Detachment in Austin. They were the 11th and 12th Texas National Guardsmen to die in Iraq and Afghanistan since Sept. 11, 2001.
Staats lived in Boerne and worked at Halff Associates, a San Antonio engineering firm.
He and his wife, who teaches fifth grade in Harlandale Independent School District, were married in 2005, eight days before he left on a yearlong peacekeeping mission to Kosovo. They have no children.
His deployment to the more dangerous conflict in Afghanistan led Monteigne Staats, 29, to go into “survival mode” and stop watching news.
“I knew there was a lot of fighting going on, and Chris couldn't tell me about it,” she said.
Her husband graduated from Texas A&M in 2002 with a degree in renewable natural resources.
“He was among 12 people selected from across the state to be on an agribusiness development team,” she said.
Since getting the news, Staats' friends and relatives have been consoling each other at the family homestead in Fredericksburg, where Staats will likely be laid to rest.
“The soldiers came here Friday night,” said Bobby Staats, Chris Staats' father. “They said he was in a vehicle and an IED went off, and really more than that I don't know.”
In joining the guard upon graduating from Fredericksburg High School in 1996, Chris Staats followed the lead of his father and his older brother, Garrett, 38.
Chris Staats was anxious about working in Afghanistan. But, his father said, “He said, ‘It is what it is.' That's what his job was.”
Staats' mother, Lorna Eckhardt, speaking for herself and her husband, Gary, said, “We're proud of him, and he'll be missed.”
Staats' widow draws strength from the words of her husband's comrades.
“They said ‘Chris was a man's man.' It's true,” said Monteigne Staats. “They were saying he really was the glue that held them together, and was pushing for a lot of things to help the people in Afghanistan.”