Monday, February 04, 2008

Army Spc. Christopher J. West

Remember Our Heroes

Army Spc. Christopher J. West, 26, of Arlington, Texas

Spc. West was assigned to the 1st Squadron, 73rd Cavalry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division, Fort Bragg, N.C.; died Feb. 4, 2008 in Balad, Iraq, of wounds sustained on Feb. 3 in Muqdadiyah, Iraq, when an improvised explosive device detonated during combat operations.

ARLINGTON -- A local soldier serving in Iraq died Monday from injuries received from an improvised explosive device.

Spc. Christopher J. West, 26, of Arlington, was wounded Sunday while walking during a combat mission in Muqdadiyah, Iraq. West was taken to the U.S. Army hospital at Balad, Iraq, where he died.

Spc. West was a combat medic, and was scheduled for rest and relaxation at his family's home in Arlington this weekend, according to his sister, Lauren West, 27.

"It was going to be his last mission before he came home," she said. "He loved what he was doing. He said he felt like he had found his calling. He thought that it was very possible that he could make the Army a lifelong career."

Spc. West arrived in Iraq four months ago and was assigned to the 1st Squadron, 73rd Cavalry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division from Fort Bragg, N.C.

Spc. West was fourth-generation Army, his family said. His father, John West, served in Vietnam as a Ranger and Green Beret. Spc. West was 4 years old when he made the decision to join the Army, Lauren West said.

Spc. West grew up in Arlington and attended Sam Houston High School before graduating from Bowie High School in 2000. He graduated with honors in 2004 from Texas A&M University with a bachelor's degree in marketing, said Hattie West, his mother.

"He graduated from jump school at Fort Benning August 17, 2007," she said. "This was his first year in."

Army testing revealed Spc. West's aptitudes for the Signal Corps and for medical training, Lauren West said.

"After he graduated from A&M, he wanted to go in- to law, but something kept pulling him toward the Army," Lauren West said. "He felt like he had to do it."

Spc. West's girlfriend also is deployed in Iraq, his sister said. Family members said Tuesday that they were trying to get in touch with her to make sure that she was aware of his death.

Army Spc. Christopher J. West was killed in action on 2/4/08.

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