Christopher John-Lee West
Corporal, United States Army
Department of Defense
Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Public Affairs)
IMMEDIATE RELEASE No. 0098-08
DoD Identifies Army Casualty
The Department of Defense announced today the death of a soldier who was supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Specialist Christopher J. West, 26, of Arlington, Texas, died February 4, 2008, in Balad, Iraq, of wounds suffered on February 3, 2008, in Muqdadiyah, Iraq, when an improvised explosive device detonated during combat operations. He was assigned to the 1st Squadron, 73rd Cavalry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division, Fort Bragg, North Carolina.
For more information media may contact the
82nd Airborne Division public affairs office at (910) 432-0661.
Military officials say a paratrooper with the 82nd Airborne Division died of wounds sustained when an improvised explosive device detonated while on a dismounted patrol in Muqdadiyah, Iraq, on Su
Specialist Christopher J. West, 26, of Arlington, Texas, was a combat medic with 1st Squadron, 73rd Cavalry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team.
West "brought an upbeat attitude to the platoon that spread to everyone he met,'' said First Lieutenant Rich Demarais, West's platoon leader. "He loved being a combat medic and a paratrooper, he was loved by his brothers in the platoon.''
West, a graduate of Texas A&M, joined the Army in January 2007. His awards and decorations include: the Bronze Star Medal and the Purple Heart.
Survivors include his parents, John and Hattie
West, of Arlington, Texas.
Army Specialist Christopher J. West, of Arlington, died February 4 from wounds suffered on February 3 in Muqdadiyah, Iraq, when an improvised explosive device detonated during combat operations. He was assigned to the 1st Squadron, 73rd Cavalry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division, Fort Bragg, North Carolina.
Specialist West graduated from Arlington’s Bowie High School in 2000 and earned a BBA in marketing from Texas A&M University in December 2004.
After graduating from Texas A&M with honors, West joined the Army in January 2007, becoming the fourth generation in his family to serve. A combat medic who arrived in Iraq in late 2007, he was scheduled to return home for rest and relaxation leave later this month.
Specialist West’s survivors include his parents, John and Hattie West of Arlington, and sisters Lauren West ’02 and Cameron West ’04.
Funeral arrangements are pending.
A local soldier serving in Iraq died Monday from injuries received from an improvised explosive device.
Specialist Christopher J. West, 26, of Arlington, was wounded Sunday while walking during a combat mission in Muqdadiyah, Iraq. West was taken to the U.S. Army hospital at Balad, Iraq, where he died.
Spcialist West was a combat medic, and was scheduled for rest and relaxation at his family's home in Arlington this weekend, according to his sister, Lauren West, 27.
"It was going to be his last mission before he came home," she said. "He loved what he was doing. He said he felt like he had found his calling. He thought that it was very possible that he could make the Army a lifelong career."
Specialist West arrived in Iraq four months ago and was assigned to the 1st Squadron, 73rd Cavalry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division from Fort Bragg, North Carolina.
Specialist West was fourth-generation Army, his family said. His father, John West, served in Vietnam as a Ranger and Green Beret. Specialist West was 4 years old when he made the decision to join the Army, Lauren West said.
Specialist West grew up in Arlington and attended Sam Houston High School before graduating from Bowie High School in 2000. He graduated with honors in 2004 from Texas A&M University with a bachelor's degree in marketing, said Hattie West, his mother.
"He graduated from jump school at Fort Benning August 17, 2007," she said. "This was his first year in."
Army testing revealed Specialist West's aptitudes for the Signal Corps and for medical training, Lauren West said.
"After he graduated from A&M, he wanted to go in- to law, but something kept pulling him toward the Army," Lauren West said. "He felt like he had to do it."
Specialist West's girlfriend also is deployed
in Iraq, his sister said. Family members said Tuesday that they were trying
to get in touch with her to make sure that she was aware of his death.
An Aggie soldier killed in Iraq will be laid to rest at Arlington National Cemetery.
Specialist Christopher West of Arlington, Texas died Monday after he was hit with an IED while in combat the day before.
West graduated from Texas A&M in December 2007 with a marketing degree, and joined the Army in 2007, the fourth generation of his family to serve his country.
West is survived by his parents and two sisters.
His services in Virginia will be February 20, 2008.
Army Corporal Christopher J. West was supposed to return home this month, having completed his first tour of duty in Iraq as a combat medic.
But West died February 4, 2008, at the 332nd Air Force Theater Hospital in Balad, Iraq, of wounds suffered the day before when a makeshift bomb detonated during combat operations in Muqdadiyah. West, 26, of Arlington, Texas, finished his journey home yesterday at Arlington National Cemetery.
"He loved hard, he played hard, he fought hard," his sister, Lauren West, told the Dallas Morning News. "He loved his country. He was so proud to be an American."
She added: "He died doing what he loved. It was the only thing in his life that he felt was challenging him, and he loved it. He felt like he had found his calling."
More than 200 mourners emerged from the dozens of cars that lined Bradley Drive, alongside Section 60 of the cemetery. They followed West's flag-draped wooden coffin as it was carried from a silver hearse to the grave site, where wreaths and flowers formed a backdrop.
Many of the mourners carried long-stemmed yellow roses as they made their way under the gray sky, and after the service, they slowly made their way to the grave and placed the roses atop the coffin.
A folded flag was presented to West's parents, John and Hattie West. He was the 411th service member killed in Iraq to be buried at Arlington.
West "brought an upbeat attitude to the platoon that spread to everyone he met," First Lieutenant Rich Demarais, West's platoon leader, said in a statement. "He was loved by his brothers in the platoon."
West joined the Army in January 2007, and by the end of the summer, he had completed health-care and airborne courses and joined the 82nd Airborne.
He arrived in Iraq in October. He was a combat medic and a paratrooper with the 1st Squadron, 73rd Cavalry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division, based at Fort Bragg, North Carolina.
He decided he wanted to become the fourth generation of his family to enter the military when he was 4 years old, his sister said.
West was born in Dallas and grew up in Arlington, Texas, where he graduated from Bowie High School in 2000. He studied marketing at Texas A&M University and graduated with honors in 2004.
His military honors included the Bronze Star
Medal, Purple Heart and Army Good Conduct Medal. Specialist West
was posthumously promoted to Corporal.
Our family greatly appreciates the many expressions of sympathy received over this past year. My nephew, U.S. Army Corporal Christopher John-Lee "C.J." West, a combat medic and paratrooper, was killed-in-action in Iraq on February 4, 2008.
A "One-Year Celebration" will be held graveside at Arlington National Cemetery on Wednesday, February 4, 2009.
We invite people everywhere to join with our family, in spirit, at 10 a.m. (local time) for a special "Moment of Remembrance" to honor the life, service and sacrifice of our beloved C.J. and all of the other fallen troops and their families. Bagpipe music will play and dozens of small dream catchers from New Mexico will decorate the area.
My sister, Hattie Brettler West, and her husband, John, have received hundreds of cards and letters from around the world. Even now, condolences continue to arrive, and Hattie continues to thank each and every sender.
My husband, Bill, has acted as the family archivist this past year, compiling the hundreds of photos, memorabilia and news articles about C.J., onto a compact disk. C.J. never got to meet his baby niece who was born while he was in training, so this CD will help her learn all about her Uncle C.J.
This has been a very challenging year for our family. C.J.'s passing has left a hole in our family and in each of our hearts. We have found comfort in preserving his memory through service to others. The "Wounded Warriors" and "Run for the Fallen" were two of our projects this year.
Again, we thank everyone for the many words of kindness this past year. This support has been a source of strength for us all. May God bless the United States of America, and all of our troops and their families.
HANNAH EDAHL MONSIMER
WEST, CHRISTOPHER JOHN LEE
Posted: 9 February 2008 Updated: 20 February 2008 Updated: 21 February 2008 Updated: 16 March 2008 Updated: 24 March 2008 Updated: 28 January 2009
2010 Rose Event Photo By M. R. Patterson
Photos Courtesy of Holly, March 2008