Thursday, June 7, 2007

Soldier from Chandler dies in Iraq

The Arizona Republic
Jun. 6, 2007 05:35 PM

A Chandler soldier has died in Iraq, the Department of Defense announced Wednesday afternoon.

Sgt. Caleb P. Christopher, 25, died June 3 in Baghdad. He was killed when an improvised explosive device detonated near his vehicle.

Caleb graduated from Hamilton High School in 2000, a member of the school's first graduating class, according to the Chandler Unified School District.

According to the Army, the 25-year-old joined the military in May 2002 as an infantryman. He was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 8th Cavalry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division in June 2006. He deployed to Iraq four months later.

Christopher earned numerous awards and decorations during his service: the Army Commendation Medal, Army Achievement Medal, Army Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Iraq Campaign Medal, Global War on Terrorism (Service) Medal, Army Service Ribbon, Combat Infantryman Badge, Expert Infantryman Badge, Parachutist Badge, and US Army Reserve Recruiter Badge.

Christopher is only the second soldier from Chandler to die in the line of duty in Iraq or Afghanistan.

No further information on him or his background was immediately available.

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Fallen Arizona sergeant known for his optimism

The Arizona Republic
Jun. 3, 2007 12:00 AM

Anthony D. Ewing said all he wanted to do was "go home and relax."

Described as "optimistic" by his friends and himself, the 22-year-old had promised that "I'll come home soon damnit!" according to a post on his MySpace profile.
But the army sergeant won't return to the United States the way friends and family had hoped.

Ewing was one of five soldiers killed on Memorial Day in Abu Savda, Iraq, when a bomb struck their vehicle, according to the U.S. Department of Defense.

Ewing, who was on his second tour in Iraq, according to friends, was supposed to return to the United States soon, but his tour had been extended another 90 days.

Ewing and four other soldiers in the 1st Cavalry Division, stationed at Fort Hood, Texas, were killed in the vehicle explosion.

Ewing was a 2003 graduate of Westview High School in Avondale.

His father still lives in the Valley, and his mother lives in Texas.

"He was always an outgoing, optimistic person," said Ashley Logan, who has known Ewing since fifth grade.

The pair went to Sundance Elementary School in Peoria. "He always made people smile no matter what," Logan said. Ewing had planed to start college in February, she said.

ARRIVAL: June 7th(Thursday)
SERVICES: June 9th (Saturday)10:00am

Valley West Funeral Chapel
926 S Litchfield Road
Arizona 85338

Followed by interment at the National Cemetery Cave/Creek Road

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Guardsman who grew up in Tucson killed in Afghanistan

An Arizona Army National Guardsman from Florence who grew up in Tucson has been killed in action in Afghanistan.

Sgt. Charles Browning, 31, died Friday of wounds he suffered when his vehicle was hit by a homemade bomb, according to a press release from the National Guard released early Tuesday afternoon.

Browning was assigned to the National Guard’s Gilbert-based B Company, 1-158th Infantry Battalion.

“Sergeant Browning was a great soldier, patriot and family man, and friend to many,” said Army Major General David P. Rataczak, the head of the Arizona National Guard. “His loss will be felt by all members of the National Guard family. At this time, our thoughts and prayers are with his loved ones.”

The 1-158th Infantry Battalion was mobilized in January in support of Operation Enduring Freedom, according to the press release. The unit deployed to Fort Bragg, N.C., for training and then deployed to Afghanistan in March.

Browning’s family released a statement through the National Guard that said he was born on Widby Island, in Puget Sound. At age 8, his family moved to Tucson. He graduated from Palo Verde High School and then joined the military, serving at Fort Drum, N.Y. and Fort Campbell, K.Y.; also completing tours in Panama and Korea.

After active duty, he enlisted with the Arizona National Guard’s 2-180th Field Artillery Battalion where he deployed to Kuwait in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. He then volunteered to serve in Afghanistan.

Browning also worked for the Arizona Department of Corrections.

“He enjoyed spending time with his family, taking road trips, camping, hiking and fully enjoying the outdoors. He is survived by his wife Lisa and two stepdaughters,” the statement from his family read.

Browning is the 31st person with ties to Southern Arizona to be claimed by the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan.

A graveside service will begin at 10:30 a.m. June 14 at Evergreen Cemetery, 3015 N. Oracle Road.