Christopher Roulund – Staff Sergeant, United States Army

Dixon grad died doing what he loved
Military parachute exercise kills soldier with local ties
Courtesy of ENC Today, Jacksonville, North Carolina

This spring, Christopher Roulund got his parents, brothers and sister together and took them skydiving.

Initially, not every family member was sold on the idea, but Roulund wanted them all to experience the activity he loved, said his sister, Jennifer Roulund.

“He talked all of us into it,” she said.

The family was ready to go when it started raining. So they waited, and during a break in the rain, they got in their jumps.

“It managed to work out, and thank God it did, because it's (one of) the last (memories) we have of being together,” said his mother, Lynn Roulund.

Wednesday, Staff Sgt. Christopher Roulund died from injuries he suffered during a military free-fall training exercise at the Parachute Testing and Training Facility near Marana, Arizona.

“He died doing what he loved doing. And I wouldn't want it any other way,” Lynn Roulund said.

Christopher Roulund, 27, graduated from Dixon High School in 1999. Though his father is a retired Marine Corps Chief Warrant Officer, Christopher Roulund had a slightly different goal in mind: He wanted to be an Army Ranger.

“When Christopher made up his mind, he only wanted to be a Ranger, because the thought they were the best – the best trained, the best equipment,” Lynn Roulund said.

Roulund was assigned to Regimental Special Troops Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment, based at Ft. Benning, Georgia.

“He took his role as a Ranger very, very seriously,” his mother said. “Training his men was the most important thing that he thought he did. If one of them was injured or lagging behind, it really upset him.”

When one of Christopher's soldiers was injured, he traveled to Texas to be there for the man and his family.

He also used his training to help others, Lynn Roulund said. Once, when he was in the Plum Point Plaza parking lot, he saw a young Marine who had been stung by a bee and was having a severe allergic reaction, Lynn Roulund said.

Christopher called 911 and gave first aid to stabilize the young man before emergency workers arrived, Lynn Roulund said.

“He was a good man. He could be trying at times, but he was a good man with a good heart,” she said.

Christopher also enjoyed riding his Harley or driving around in his truck – recognizable around town for the Rhino lining inside and out.

Growing up, Roulund – the second oldest of four siblings – and his younger sister Jennifer “fought like cats and dogs,” she said.

“No matter what, he thought he was right,” she said.

But, she said, “he brought light to the family,” making everyone smile by acting like a clown or just talking about his job, which he was passionate about.

“If you saw him, you were smiling,” she said.

Christopher served three combat tours in Iraq and three in Afghanistan. During one tour, his father was serving as a contractor in Iraq and was able to be at his son's reenlistment ceremony.

Christopher loved meeting new people, his mother said, and he came back to Jacksonville whenever he had the chance.

“He did a lot of living in his 27 years,” Lynn Roulund said.

A visitation is scheduled for Thursday from 6 to 7:30 p.m. at Johnson Funeral Home. Services will follow. Roulund will be interred August 28, 2008, at Arlington National Cemetery.

Another Ranger was injured in the free-fall accident, and Roulund's family requests that anyone who wishes to make a donation do so in Christopher's name at The organization is helping the injured Ranger and his family, and also assists other service members with service-related injuries.

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