Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Army Specialist Christopher L. Hoskins

Remember Our Heroes

Army Specialist Christopher L. Hoskins, 21, of Danielson, Connecticut.

Spc Hoskins died in Ramadi, Iraq, when his unit was conducting combat operations and was attacked by enemy forces using small arms fire. He was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 9th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division, Fort Carson, Colorado.

Claudia Hoskins said that her son volunteered to go to Iraq when his unit was called because he had such strong camaraderie with the men in his unit. "He didn't have to go, but he went," she said. "He enjoyed being a soldier and he died doing what he loved to do."

Those who knew him said that Hoskins was not one to shy away from challenges. His high school wrestling coach said that Hoskins joined the team as a junior with no prior wrestling experience. But the quiet young man worked his way into the starting lineup of a team that eventually won a conference championship, coach Rich Bowen said.

"He wasn't real fiery. He just came to practice each day, probably didn't say two or three words, if that," Bowen said last week. "I think to him it was just a challenge. He was a very quiet kid, laid back."

Hoskins served as a driver for a Bradley fighting vehicle and driver and gunner on a Humvee. He was in Iraq for nearly a year, but was expected to leave the country for Kuwait within the next six weeks, his mother said.

The last time that Hoskins visited his family, in January, he told his mother what he would want if he died. It was a conversation, his mother said, that doesn't usually take place for someone so young. Her son would have turned 22 in August.

"I have no regrets about those conversations," Claudia Hoskins said. "It helped me know as a mother what he wanted."

Among Hoskins' desires was to set up two memorial funds to benefit youngsters in Killingly, one to help pay for assistive technology in the school system because his younger brother, 15-year-old Sean, is a student with special needs. The other fund to be established will benefit the high school art department because Hoskins had a love of the graphic arts. Among Hoskins' possessions that his family is waiting to receive from the Army is a sketchbook that he took to Iraq.

Claudia Hoskins said that she last spoke with her son two weeks ago; Kristin Mayo said that she chatted with her brother via e-mail only last week.

"He was happy and he wanted to be there," she said of his tour in Iraq. "He thought he was doing the right thing."

Added Claudia, of her son's impressions of the people in Iraq, "He said, `They are just like us with the same kinds of needs ... food, water, clothing and a safe place to be, and that's why I'm here.' I thought, 'Here's my young man who is a young man among men,'" she said. "And he was very proud."

Army Specialist Christopher L. Hoskins was killed in action on 06/21/05.

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