|from Alaska KTUU
TV2 News 01/08/07:
Colony High School graduate dies in Iraq
by Natasha Rasheed
Monday, Jan. 8, 2007
Palmer, Alaska - He was a 1996 graduate of Colony High School in Palmer, and tonight friends of 28-year-old Army Staff Sgt. Charles Allen are remembering him.
Allen was killed Jan. 4 from small arms fire in Baghdad. He was part of the 296th Brigade Support Battalion, 3rd Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division out of Fort Lewis, Wash.
Those who knew the decorated soldier best say it's still hard to comprehend the news of his death. One instructor from Colony High School remembered Allen today.
The Junior Reserve Officers in Training Corps program is a chance for students to build character and strength. But today their instructor, retired Staff Sgt. David Gogert, finds it hard to be strong.
"I was shocked, very shocked. I mean, we know this happens but when it hits this close to home, it's difficult," said Gogert.
Gogert received the news early this morning that one of his former students, an emergency care sergeant stationed in Iraq, died.
"He was a very hard-charging young man, very dedicated, very focused and an outstanding individual," Gogert said.
His friends describe him simply as "a great guy."
Brian Tyler served under him in Iraq in July 2004.
"Most leaders look out for themselves. I never saw him once look out for himself before he looked out for everyone else around him," said Tyler.
On a MySpace page, another unnamed friend remembered Allen as well.
"Charles was my long time friend and mentor. He was the quiet leader who always seemed to do the right thing. We were deployed together from July 2004 to July 2005. During that time, he took me under his wing and taught me everything he knew."
At Colony High, the drill continued while Gogert paused to remember the marching of another young man. He says Allen periodically stopped to visit with him throughout the years and he will always remember him as a wonderful soldier and a wonderful young man.
Allen earned at least six medals as a soldier, including the Army Good Conduct Medal and the Army Achievement Medal for service.
Colony High plans to hold a memorial for Allen; however, those details are still being worked out. A memorial at Fort Lewis is already planned for him Jan. 11.