Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Army Sgt. Christopher N. Karch

Remember Our Heroes

Army Sgt. Christopher N. Karch, 23, of Indianapolis, Ind.

Sgt Karch was assigned to 2nd Battalion, 508th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division, Fort Bragg, N.C.; died Aug. 11 in Arghandab Valley, Afghanistan, of wounds sustained when insurgents attacked his unit with small-arms fire.

Dad recalls soldier son killed in Afghanistan
By Richard Gootee
Indianapolis Star

The father of the 2005 Lawrence Central High School graduate killed this week in Afghanistan said he guided his son into the Army to get “a good start in life.”

“He loved it, he was gung-ho over there,” said Patrick Karch, who served in the Army himself for three years.

Sgt. Christopher Karch, 23, who joined the Army about two months after his high school graduation, was about a month away from coming home from his second tour from Afghanistan. He was killed Wednesday in a firefight in the Arghandab Valley when insurgents attacked Karch’s unit with small-arms fire, according to the Department of Defense website. He was a member of the 82nd Airborne Division, which is based in Fort Bragg, N.C.

He was only 20 days from coming back home.

Patrick Karch was in Dover, Del, to receive his son’s body today at 2 p.m. He said he planned to bring the body back to Indianapolis for the funeral, but didn’t think his son’s body would be released until sometime next week.

He could hardly talk about his son, saying he called a good kid and said always had a smile on his face.

“I really thought he was just going to come back and nothing (would happen),” he said.

Lawrence Central HS graduate, Sgt. Christopher N. Karch, 23, was killed in Afghanistan Tuesday. His grandfather Norman Karch, 70, said he received news on Wednesday that his grandson was killed in action.

According to an article by 24-Hour News 8’s news partners The Herald Bulletin, Norman Karch lives in Anderson and raised his family here. Norman's son, Patrick Karch, graduated from Madison Heights High School before moving to Indianapolis to raise Christopher.

Christopher graduated from Lawrence Central High School in Indianapolis in 2005 and was serving his second tour of duty in Afghanistan.

Christopher had been in Afghanistan since last August and had 20 more days to go before his deployment ended and he was allowed to return home, Norman said. The fact that Christopher had just 20 days left makes his death seem even more surreal, Norman Karch said. "It doesn't seem possible," Karch said Thursday.

Christopher's father, Patrick Karch, was headed to Dover Air Force base in Delaware to await the arrival of his son's body. Norman Karch said the funeral will be held in Indianapolis and funeral arrangements are pending.

Norman and his wife, Denise, are still reeling from the news, he said. "We do pretty good until we started talking about it and really thinking about it. Time will heal."

On his Facebook page, Christopher Karch listed his favorite movies, television shows among other interests. A fan of frisbee golf and the Family Guy television show, Christopher Karch also enjoyed visiting the beach and reading. He was pursuing a degree from the University of Maryland with plans to graduate with the 2012 class. Christopher Karch lived in Sanford, N.C., where he was based at Fort Bragg, serving in the 82nd Airborne Division.

On Karch's Facebook page, his father, Pat Karch, told friends of his death. "The Army sent two guys to inform me that Chris was in a fire fight and did not make it," he wrote Wednesday evening. "He was a great son … and I lost track of how many times I told him I was proud of him."

Norman Karch said his grandson was proud to be a paratrooper and had paratrooper wings tattooed across his back. "He got the set of wings tattooed on back to help protect him," Norman Karch said.

Maj. Virginia McCabe of the U.S. Army said the military has not yet released information confirming Karch's death in Afghanistan. The military waits for the U.S. Department of Defense to first issue a new list of casualties before releasing information to the public. She said the U.S. Department of Defense does not release information regarding fatalities until 24 hours after the family has been notified and a public release of Karch's death was expected by Friday.

Karch's awards and decorations include the Bronze Star Medal, the Purple Heart, the Army Commendation Medal with two Bronze Oak Leaf Clusters, the Army Good Conduct Medal, the National Defense Service Medal, the Afghanistan Campaign Medal with Campaign Star, the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, the Army Service Ribbon, two Overseas Service Ribbons, the NATO Medal, the Combat Infantryman Badge, and the Parachutists Badge.

Army Sgt. Christopher N. Karch was killed in action on 8/11/10.

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