Sunday, February 18, 2007

Army Pfc. Kristofer D. S. Thomas

Remember Our Heroes

Army Pfc. Kristofer D. S. Thomas, 18, of Roseville, Calif

Pfc. Thomas was assigned to the 3rd Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment, Fort Benning, Ga.; died Feb. 18 in southeastern Afghanistan when the Chinook helicopter he was in crashed. Also killed were Chief Warrant Officer 3 Hershel D. McCants Jr., Chief Warrant Officer 3 John A. Quinlan, Sgt. Adam A. Wilkinson, Spc. Travis R. Vaughn, Spc. Brandon D. Gordon, Pfc. Ryan C. Garbs, Pfc. Kristofer D. S. Thomas and Air Force Tech. Sgt. Scott E. Duffman.

Pfc. Kristofer D. S. Thomas, 18, of Roseville, Calif., was assigned to the 3rd Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment. According to The Sacramento Bee, Thomas was an outspoken liberal in school and a gung-ho recruit who joined the Army right out of school.

“I don’t want to just sit back and watch the casualty numbers climb on CNN. I need to do something to help out,” he wrote in a school paper.

According to the Bee, family members declined comment but erected a memorial outside their home that included U.S. flags, photos, a stuffed Winnie the Pooh toy and a banner reading “in loving memory of Kristofer.”

Kristofer D.S. Thomas was so eager for a career in the military that he graduated from high school a semester early to join the Army before his 18th birthday.

Pfc. Thomas' dedication paid off, and he was sent to Afghanistan as a member of the elite Army Rangers. But the 18-year-old's first tour of duty was cut short when he was killed in a helicopter crash in the southeastern part of the country, the Department of Defense said Wednesday.

Thomas, of Roseville, was one of eight soldiers who died Sunday in the CH-47 Chinook crash, the deadliest incident in Afghanistan this year. A total of 22 service members were on board at the time. The cause remained under investigation, but officials have said the helicopter was not shot down.

Thomas was assigned to the 3rd Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment, based at Fort Benning, Ga.

Those who knew Thomas described him as an outgoing teenager who initially struggled at Roseville High School, but turned his grades around once he decided to join the Army.

"He became focused and decided, 'Hey, I'm going into the military,'" Principal Brad Basham said. "He went from a tough kid to a model student in the time he was here."

Neighbor John Young said his two young sons looked up to Thomas and would write to him while he was away at basic training.

"He was a real good influence on my boys and a great kid," Young said. "He really had a desire to serve his country."

Army Pfc. Kristofer D. S. Thomas was killed in action on 02/18/07.

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