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

SSG Christopher D Strickland - www.OurWarHeroes.org

Christopher D Strickland

Labelle, Florida

June 25, 2008

Age Military Rank Unit/Location
25 Marine SSgt

1st Marine Logistics Group, I Marine Expeditionary Force

Camp Pendleton, California

 Killed while supporting combat operations in Helmand province, Afghanistan.

SSG Christopher D Strickland - www.OurWarHeroes.org SSG Christopher D Strickland - www.OurWarHeroes.org

Staff Sgt. Christopher D. Strickland, 25, of Labelle, Fla.; assigned to 1st Marine Logistics Group, I Marine Expeditionary Force, Camp Pendleton, Calif.; died June 25 in Helmand province, Afghanistan, while supporting combat operations. He reached the rank of staff sergeant, and had previously done two tours in Iraq. He leaves a wife and a young son. Christopher died while supporting combat operations in Helmand province, Afghanistan at age 25. 
New York Army National Guard
27th Brigade Combat Team

Memorial Ceremony Held for Fallen U.S. Service Members
News Release


CAMP PHOENIX, KABUL, AFGHANISTAN (07/01/2008)(readMedia)-- A memorial ceremony was held on Monday 30 June for four U.S. service members assigned to Combined Joint Task Force Phoenix who were killed last week as a result of combat operations in Afghanistan.

"What links these four men together - marine and soldiers - is their devotion to duty and the ideal of a greater good," said Col. Brian K. Balfe, commander, CJTF-P, to more than 200 U.S. and coalition service members and distinguished guests in attendance.

"They each pursued the accomplishment of mission despite the danger that lay in front of them. Each spoke to us with their actions which for these four honorable men clearly speak louder than any words. They truly cleared the way for all of us here today," said Balfe.

Representatives of the Afghan National Army and the Camp Phoenix-based French and Romanian detachments were present.

The following U.S personnel were honored.

Staff Sgt. Christopher D. Strickland, 25, of Labelle, Fla. died June 25, while supporting combat operations in Helmand province, Afghanistan. He was assigned to 1st Marine Logistics Group, I Marine Expeditionary Force, Camp Pendleton, Calif

They following Soldiers died from wounds suffered June 26 near Forward Operating Base Shank, Afghanistan, when their convoy encountered improvised explosive devices, small arms fire and rocket-propelled grenades.

Sgt. 1st Class Matthew L. Hilton, 37, of Livonia, Mich., who was assigned to the 425th Infantry Regiment, Michigan Army National Guard, Selfridge, Mich.

Sgt. 1st Class Joseph A. McKay, 51, of Brooklyn, N.Y., who was assigned to the 2nd Squadron, 101st Cavalry Regiment (Reconnaissance, Surveillance and Target Acquisition), New York Army National Guard, Jamestown, N.Y.

Spc. Mark C. Palmateer, 38, of Poughkeepsie, N.Y., who was assigned to the 2nd Squadron, 101st Cavalry Regiment (Reconnaissance, Surveillance and Target Acquisition), New York Army National Guard, Jamestown, N.Y.
From The US Army army.mil 05/27/09

Six servicemen enshrined during 40th EOD Memorial Ceremony
By ROGER TEEL, 20th Support Command (CBRNE) - May 27, 2009

The lives of six explosive ordnance disposal technicians who made the ultimate sacrifice in 2008 were celebrated at the 40th annual EOD Memorial Ceremony at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., May 2.

Names enshrined on the memorial were Sgt. James K. Healy, Sgt. 1st Class Lawrence D. Ezell, Staff Sgt. Brian E. Studer, U.S. Marine Corps Staff Sgt. Christopher D. Strickland, U.S. Navy EOD1 Luis A. Souffront and U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Anthony L. Capra.

All were graduates of the Kauffman EOD Training Complex, the Navy-run Department of Defense School where the EOD Memorial resides. All were killed in the line of duty in 2008.

As the ceremony was about to begin, a solitary bagpiper, U.S. Marine Corps Sgt. Mark Matice, played an airy medley as he marched to and fro in front of the memorial. The haunting music somberly led nearly 1,500 Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Marines, legacy Families, guests and distinguished visitors to their seats. Many stood silent in the rear while 20-man formations from each service framed the memorial.

"These are the times that try men's souls," said U.S. Marine Corps Gen. James Mattis, quoting American patriot Thomas Paine in his keynote remarks.

Mattis, the NATO Supreme Allied Commander Transformation and commander, U.S. Joint Forces Command, headquartered in Norfolk, Va., was introduced by U.S. Navy Capt. Adam Guziewicz, commandant of the EOD School.

"There is no better place to honor the men and women who so fully devoted themselves to their country and the EOD profession than this place, across from the school that generates the next generation of EOD technicians," Guziewicz said during his introductory comments.

"While we formally gather here just once a year to honor the memories of our fallen comrades, the staff and students honor them each day in many ways. Sometimes they're here carefully polishing the brass on the memorial or sweeping sand from the paving stones engraved with the heartfelt messages of others.

"It is during these quiet, contemplative moments that one gets the feeling that this symbol of our sacrifice somehow stands as a silent sentinel -- watching us, guiding us, and perhaps even passing judgment on those of us charged with training future EOD technicians," Guziewicz said.

"I'm very humbled to stand here with you today, in this place that we all consider to be hallowed ground," Mattis said as he stepped to the podium. "I say I'm humbled and you know why. Who could possibly capture in a few words this morning all that these young men meant to us and to our great nation'"

Mattis commanded the 1st Marine Division during the initial attack and subsequent stability operations during Operation Iraqi Freedom. He previously commanded the 1st Marine Expeditionary Brigade during Operation Enduring Freedom in southern Afghanistan.

"I have led many of America's sons into battle, and I use General Douglas MacArthur's words here today - 'They were splendid in every way,'" Mattis said.

"Some people walk through life wearing a raincoat called fear. But not those young men that we commemorate here today," he continued. "Did they know fear' Of course they did. But they didn't wear it, and it didn't shape their lives. Courage was what shaped their lives.

"These young men looked beyond the hot political debates swirling around an unpopular war and heard their country's call. We celebrate them here today and the example they set for us, even as it humbles each one of us to do so."

Mattis was reverential as he described the strength of America, recalling the words of President Abraham Lincoln.

"He said 'America's strength has always been in following our better angels -- our love of liberty, our passion for peace, our ceaseless harboring of hope, our colossal willingness of the heart.'

"I love those words," Mattis said, repeating the phrases, '...the ceaseless harboring of hope, our colossal willingness of the heart.'

"We send our best out into the world - the best, the brightest and bravest our nation has to offer - the sons and daughters who will forever stand as the better angels of America." Mattis praised the Families of the fallen.

"Our nation is thankful for your strength, for you gave these young men their foundation of character - apples don't fall far from the tree. Your examples formed their outlook on life, on what has value. For that you should proud--for raising up a rambunctious better angel with whom it has been my honor to serve.

"The cost has been very dear," Mattis continued. "We are reminded of that here today. But we will teach this enemy a lesson, these maniacs, and the lesson is you cannot scare us by hurting us. This experiment that we call America will survive, thanks to the young men we celebrate here today and others like them."

After the general's comments, a roll call of all EOD technicians who made the ultimate sacrifice was read. The roll now has 238 names. The latest additions were unveiled and wreaths were placed before each service's memorial plaque.

Senior commanders kneeled as they presented a tri-folded American flag that had flown over the memorial to the Families of the honored. After standing, each officer rendered a slow salute, the gesture of a grateful nation.

Following a 21-gun salute, Senior Airman Biquiana Rivas of the Eglin Air Force Base honor guard, played Taps, concluding the ceremony.

Many guests lingered long afterward, talking to friends, touching the wall, remembering the fallen EOD warriors.

After taking photos of the names on the Army memorial, Staff Sgt. Timothy Haar, an EOD technician from Fort Carson, Colo. was overcome by grief. He buried his face in his wife Meagan's shoulder.

"Sergeant Ezell was my platoon sergeant in the 62nd [Ordnance Company in Iraq]," he softly said as tears rolled down his cheeks. "It could have been my name up there."
From EOD Warrior Foundation eodwarriorfoundation.org 06/2008

SSGT Christopher D. Strickland
06-2008

Christopher D. Strickland
Staff Sgt. Christopher D. Strickland, 25, of Labelle, Fla. died June 25, while supporting combat operations in Helmand province, Afghanistan. He was assigned to 1st Marine Logistics Group, I Marine Expeditionary Force, Camp Pendleton, California.

Christopher Strickland wasted no time joining the Marines. Strickland, 25, signed commitment papers when he was a high school junior, seeing it as a way he could leave his hometown of LaBelle to experience the world. “To him, to tell people he was a Marine was one of the proudest things to roll off his tongue,” said his high school friend, Whitney Chapman. Strickland was killed by an explosion Wednesday in Afghanistan.

He’d been working as an explosives technician in the 7th Engineer Support Battalion with the 1st Marine Logistics Group of Camp Pendleton, Calif. During his time in the military, Strickland reached the rank of staff sergeant, and had previously done two tours in Iraq. He leaves behind a wife and a 3-year-old son, who live in California, as well as a mother and two sisters.
LaBelle Marine, soldier killed within the same week

By Gabriella Souza

The (Fort Myers) News-Press

Christopher Strickland wasted no time joining the Marines.

Strickland, 25, signed commitment papers when he was a high school junior, seeing it as a way he could leave his hometown of LaBelle to experience the world.

“To him, to tell people he was a Marine was one of the proudest things to roll off his tongue,” said his high school friend, Whitney Chapman.

Strickland was killed by an explosion Wednesday in Afghanistan. He’d been working as an explosives technician in the 7th Engineer Support Battalion with the 1st Marine Logistics Group of Camp Pendleton, Calif.

During his time in the military, Strickland reached the rank of staff sergeant, and had previously done two tours in Iraq. He leaves behind a wife and a 3-year-old son, who live in California, as well as a mother and two sisters.

He is the second soldier from LaBelle to be killed this week.

On Tuesday, LaBelle native Chief Warrant Officer Robert Hammett Jr., 39, of the 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division from Fort Carson, Colo., was killed in a bomb blast in Kabul, Iraq. He was on his third deployment to Iraq.

Hammett lived in Colorado Springs, Colo., with his wife and five daughters. He will be buried in Tucson, where his mother and his wife’s family lives.

As of Thursday, at least 4,113 U.S. soldiers had died in the Iraq war since it began in March 2003, and 461 had died as a result of the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan. At least 20 soldiers with ties to Southwest Florida have been killed in action.

Strickland’s mother, Beth Church of LaBelle, was at work Wednesday morning when she got the call. She and Strickland had been e-mailing back and forth, planning a visit.

She never got a chance to reply to his last e-mail, which she received Tuesday.

“He was probably the greatest kid in the whole wide world,” Church said.

Strickland told Chapman he joined the Marines to meet girls.

“But it kind of evolved into wanting to better himself,” said Chapman, who became friends with Strickland in their freshman honors biology class.

Strickland graduated from LaBelle High School in 2000. During his time there, he wrestled, played football and played the saxophone and bass drum in the marching band.

Ron Dunbar, who coached Strickland in football, said he had a tremendous work ethic and was a good example for teammates.

“Chris really just stood out as a young man that was always willing to do whatever it took to help others,” he said.

Church will remember her son as a protector, someone willing to stick his neck out for others.

“He wanted to make everyone proud and look up to him,” she said.

Hammett joined the Army 18 years ago.

“It was just a big adventure,” said Hammett’s father, Robert Hammett Sr., who lives in LaBelle.

The elder Hammett said an officer and a sergeant came to his house Tuesday to tell him of his son’s death.

“He excelled in about everything he did because he put a lot of effort into everything he did,” the senior Hammett said.

— The News-Press staff writer Christina Cepero contributed to this report
27 June 2008:
A Camp Pendleton Marine sergeant is one of the latest victims of the escalating violence in Afghanistan, perishing Wednesday in a roadside bombing in the country's Helmand province, the Defense Department announced late Thursday.

Staff Sergeant Christopher D. Strickland was on his third combat assignment when he was killed, according to information provided by a Camp Pendleton public affairs officer.

Strickland, 25, a native of Labelle, Florida, was assigned to the 1st Marine Logistics Group, I Marine Expeditionary Force.

He was an ordnance disposal technician assigned to the 7th Engineer Support Battalion, 1st Marine Logistics Group at Camp Pendleton, a base spokesman said Friday. It was not immediately clear if his death was related to his job.

The base spokesman said Strickland was filling a vacancy with the 2nd Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment from Twentynine Palms in the Mojave Desert.

That unit and one from Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, have been in Afghanistan since early spring as part of an increase in Marine Corps forces sent there to help other U.S. and NATO military units deal with a rise in violence.

The 3,200 Marines sent to Afghanistan this year represents the first large-scale deployment from that branch of the military since shortly after the fall of the Taliban after the invasion in 2001.

Strickland was on his second combat assignment in Afghanistan. He also served on tour in Iraq and would have celebrated his ninth year in the Marine Corps on July 23, 2008.

Efforts to reach family members were not immediately successful, but WINK television in Florida reported that he had joined the Marine Corps at age 17 shortly after graduating high school.

The station's Web site carried a story that said Strickland was married and the father of a 3-year-old son. It also said he would be buried in Arlington National Cemetery. 
27 June 2008:
On Tuesday, Beth Church lost her only son, 25-year-old Marine Staff Sergeant Christopher Strickland in combat.

He was serving his fifth tour of duty, this time in the Helmand Province of Afghanistan.

It was also Strickland's dream as a young man to serve his country and follow in his step-father's footsteps.

Church recalls the day she signed the papers for her then 17-year-old son, a recent high school graduate, to join the Marines.

"I said is this what you want to do and he said yes mama, I want to be a Marine and as I'm signing the papers, I'm crying my eyes out because I knew I just gave him away," said Church.

But that's what her son wanted. She says a child left that day, but a man returned home to her.

In the last e-mail he sent her, Christopher was planning a trip for her to visit him California when he returned home. He wanted her to see the life he built with his wife and three year old son.

It is a a trip that will never come.

"He's in a better place than we are and they're playing taps for him in heaven," said Church.

She still wears a gold necklace he bought for her after joining the Marines.

It's a soldier's mother's pendant that she wears everyday, "The gold hearts represent mother and the diamond, the strongest bond."

"I don't wear nothing else, It's my baby's...my baby gave it to me," she said as she clutched the small pendant.

Staff Sergeant Christopher Strickland will be laid to rest in Arlington National Cemetery. A memorial service is in the works in LaBelle for next Saturday.

Sergeant Strickland was laid to rest in Arlington National Cemetery on 11 July 2008.

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