Friday, May 05, 2006

Army Staff Sgt. Christopher T. Howick

Remember Our Heroes

Army Staff Sgt. Christopher T. Howick, 34, of Hamburg, N.Y.

Staff Sgt Howick 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, Chief Warrant Officer 2 Christopher B. Donaldson, Chief Warrant Officer 3 Eric W. Totten and Lt. Col. Joseph J. Fenty.

The Buffalo News
News Staff Reporter

War claims 'spirited, good kid'
"He had that big smile and was just a delightful young man."

Staff Sgt. Chris Howick re-enlisted to go overseas.

Jake Makey saw Chris Howick in person last summer when the soldier returned home to Hamburg to visit his parents.

And when he saw a 15-year-old picture of Howick on television Tuesday, he couldn't help but think of how little his former next-door neighbor had changed.

Still the same boyish looks.

"He still looks like he did in high school," Makey said. "He was a good kid . . . a spirited kid."

Tragically, Howick's yearbook photo is in the news because he was among the 10 U.S. soldiers from Fort Drum reported killed Friday when their transport helicopter crashed in Afghanistan.

Christopher T. Howick, 34, was an Army staff sergeant. He had enlisted about a year after graduating from Hamburg High School in 1990.

Paul Bloom, a guidance counselor at the school, said he remembers Howick well. "I remember that face, that cherubic face," Bloom said. "He had that big smile and was just a delightful young man to be with. He was a genuinely likable kid."

"This hurts a lot," Bloom said of his death. "It's like a punch in the stomach."

He recalled Howick as an average student who took business courses. "I don't recall him talking about the Army [as a career option]," he said.

The Defense Department has reported that all 10 U.S. soldiers aboard the helicopter died when it crashed while attempting to land near Asadabad in Afghanistan's Kunar province Friday night. All 10 were from the 10th Mountain Division.

The U.S. military has said the helicopter was not downed by enemy fire.

The unit was conducting operations on a mountaintop landing zone around 8 p.m., when it fell into a ravine, according to a statement from the U.S. military base in Afghanistan.

Six soldiers were aboard the helicopter and four more from a ground group were attempting to board it when the aircraft rolled down the side of the mountain, Lt. Col. Paul Fitzpatrick, the 10th Mountain Division's chief public affairs officer in Afghanistan, told the Associated Press.

The soldiers were conducting combat operations as part of a hunt for al-Qaida and Taliban militants believed to be hiding in the mountainous terrain.

A U.S. flag flew Tuesday on the front of Howick's home, and Makey said Howick's parents, Charles and Lola, had asked neighbors to respect their privacy and limit comments.

He also is survived by a brother, believed to be serving in the Navy; his wife, Una, and a young daughter, Noel.

Army Staff Sgt. Christopher T. Howick was killed in action on 05/05/06.

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