Friday, May 05, 2006

Army Chief Warrant Officer 2 Christopher B. Donaldson

Remember Our Heroes

Army Chief Warrant Officer 2 Christopher B. Donaldson, 28, of Effingham, Illinois.

Chief Warrent Officer Donaldson was assigned to the 3rd Battalion, 10th Aviation Regiment, 10th Mountain Division (Light Infantry), Fort Drum N.Y.; died May 5 when the CH-47 Chinook helicopter he was traveling on crashed during combat operations east of Abad, Afghanistan, in the Kunar province. Also killed were: Pfc. Brian M. Moquin Jr., Spc. David N. Timmons Jr., Spc. Justin L. O’Donohoe, Sgt. Jeffery S. Wiekamp, Sgt. John C. Griffith, Sgt. Bryan A. Brewster, Staff Sgt. Christopher T. Howick, Chief Warrant Officer 3 Eric W. Totten and Lt. Col. Joseph J. Fenty.

Associated Press
Published May 8, 2006, 8:17 PM CDT

EFFINGHAM, Ill. -- Christopher Donaldson's mom was relieved when her son told her early this year that his first mission overseas as an Army pilot would be in Afghanistan, not Iraq.

"I didn't fully recognize the dangers in Afghanistan," Lynn Donaldson said in a telephone interview from her Effingham home. "I thought it was safer. Perhaps I was naive."

Military officials knocked on her door Saturday in this southern Illinois town before midnight with news that her 28-year-old son was one of 10 soldiers killed when their CH-47 helicopter crashed during combat operations in eastern Afghanistan.

"They apologized and said it was the quickest they could get there," said Donaldson about the late-night visit.

The U.S. military said Sunday that the soldiers died while scouring remote Afghan mountains along the Pakistan border for al-Qaida and Taliban militants. The military said Friday's crash -- the deadliest for U.S. forces in Afghanistan in a year -- was not caused by hostile fire.

The military has not yet released the names of those killed.

Donaldson, a U.S. Army Warrant Officer 2nd Class, graduated in 1995 from Effingham High School, where he played football. He joined the Army two years later, eventually training as a helicopter crewman and then receiving his own wings in 2004.

"He assured me they wouldn't send him abroad for a long time because he was in training," she said. "I was thinking it was a long way off and that the war would be over by the time he was done with his flight training. I was wrong, obviously."

At least 234 U.S. military personnel, including those killed Friday, have died in Afghanistan and neighboring Pakistan and Uzbekistan since late 2001 when U.S.-led forces ousted the Taliban regime, according to the Defense Department. More than 2,400 U.S. soldiers have been killed in Iraq since the war started there in March 2003.

Donaldson began his tour of duty in Afghanistan in February and was due home on leave next month, his mother said. His tour would have ended in six months.

The soldiers who died in the crash, including Donaldson, were based at Fort Drum in New York. Of the roughly 18,000 Americans in Afghanistan, about half are from the 10th Mountain Division, based at Fort Drum, Benjamin Abel, a Fort Drum spokesman, said Sunday.

Lynn Donaldson, said she spoke to her son from his base in Bagram, Afghanistan once a week -- the last time on Wednesday morning. She said he was proud to be in the Army and was a stickler about mastering details of a mission so that it would get done correctly.

"The Army gave him great opportunities he might not have had," she said. "He grew a lot as a person, especially as a leader. ... He was a great son and a great soldier."

Along with his mother, Christopher Donaldson is survived by his father, Bill Donaldson, and by two younger brothers, 25-year-old Jason and Ryan, 21.

Army Chief Warrant Officer 2 Christopher B. Donaldson was killed in action on 05/05/06.

1 comment:

Rose Connolly said...

I will never forget presenting the PGR memorial plaque to Lynn Donaldson. There are pictures here.