Sunday, November 18, 2007

Army Cpl. Christopher J. Nelson

Remember Our Heroes

Army Cpl. Christopher J. Nelson, 22, of Rochester, Wash.

Cpl. Nelson was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 38th Infantry Regiment, 4th Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division, Fort Lewis, Wash.; died Nov. 18, 2007 in Baqubah, Iraq, when an improvised explosive device detonated during a mounted patrol. Also killed were Pfc. Marius L. Ferrero and Cpl. Jason T. Lee.

The Olympian -- A friend of a Fort Lewis soldier from Rochester who was killed in Iraq said Tuesday that she is having a hard time coming to grips with his death.

"Handing out toys to somebody. I can't see that. That's just horrible," said Rose Havard, 29, of Centralia, who worked for a year with Cpl. Christopher J. Nelson, 22, at the Larry's Chevron gasoline station in Rochester.

The Associated Press had reported that three soldiers were handing out toys and other gifts to children Sunday at a playground near Baqouba, the capital of Diyala province, when a suicide bomber detonated explosives.

Nelson, who was posthumously promoted from specialist, enlisted in the Army in January 2004 and arrived at Fort Lewis in June. He was on his second combat deployment.

He worked at the gasoline station before graduating from high school in 2003.

Havard said they worked together on weekends and remembered Nelson for being even-tempered and having a great sense of humor.

Nelson would stop by and chat with his former co-workers after he joined the military. Before he deployed, Nelson complained to Havard that there were no fast-food restaurants in Iraq. She and Nelson joked that they could start a restaurant there and make millions of dollars. At Nelson's request, Havard stocked his favorite frosting-coated sugar cookies at the gasoline station.

"He was just a lot of fun," she said. "He was always happy. I don't ever remember seeing him mad."

Nelson's older brother, Geoff, said he tried to get along with everybody. "He just wanted everybody to like him," he said.

The Department of Defense identified the other two soldiers killed in the bombing as Pfc. Marius L. Ferrero, 23, of Miami, and Cpl. Jason T. Lee, 26, of Fruitport, Mich.

Ferrero and Nelson died at the scene; Lee died at a U.S. military hospital in Balad.

All three were infantrymen assigned to the 1st Battalion, 38th Infantry Regiment of the 4th Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division.

Army Cpl. Christopher J. Nelson was killed in action on 11/18/07.

No comments: