Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Marine Staff Sgt. Christopher Diaz

Remember Our Heroes

Marine Staff Sgt. Christopher Diaz, 27, of Albuquerque, N.M.

SSgt Diaz was assigned to Headquarters Battalion, Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center, Twentynine Palms, Calif., died Sept. 28, 2011 in Helmand province, Afghanistan while conducting combat operations.

SSgt Diaz graduated from La Cueva High school where he was in ROTC.

SSgt Diaz joined the Marines eight years ago. His family has a long history of military service. Diaz’s father and grandfather are both Marine veterans. His second brother is also currently serving.

Sgt. Diaz deployed to Afghanistan in May. He was one of the most experienced dog handlers in the Marine Corps.

Friends and family said Sgt. Diaz was always upbeat, and always up for adventures, ready to see the positive side of things.

Diaz's younger brother, Jeromie, said his family was touched by the community's support.

"It shows he is loved and how strong that service bond is with military members," Jeromie Diaz said. "It touches your heart to see this.

"I expected people to be here, but to see all the extra people show up and make signs saying they love my brother, that was overwhelming."

"He was an amazing person, just an all-around great guy. He could get along with anybody. He walked in the door and he would make you smile."

"He was the top dog. Once he got out of Afghanistan, he was going to go to San Diego to be a drill instructor for K-9 handlers."

Jaime Rosales, a friend of the family, said Diaz's dog, Dino, survived the explosion that killed both Marines.

"Mr. (Salvador) Diaz wants to adopt the dog," Rosales said. "That dog was with Christopher when he died."

Sgt Diaz's awards and decorations include:
Combat Action Ribbon
Marine Corps Good Conduct Medal
Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal
Sea Service Deployment Ribbon
Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal
Navy and Marine Corps Overseas Service Ribbon
Iraq Campaign Medal
Global War on Terrorism Service Medal
National Defense Service Medal
Navy Meritorious Unit Commendation
Certificate of Commendation (Individual Award)
Letter of Appreciation

Marine Staff Sgt. Christopher Diaz, assigned to a battalion from Twentynine Palms, was one of the most experienced dog-handlers in the Marine Corps.

Marine dogs do a variety of high-risk combat chores: sniffing out weapons and drugs and helping in the take-down of suspects. The bond between dog and handler is exceptional, each trusting his life to the other.

When the 27-year-old Diaz, a third-generation Marine, deployed to Afghanistan, he was selected to support reconnaissance and special forces units on raids to kill or capture Taliban leaders in their Helmand province stronghold.

He was killed last week on one such raid -- mortally wounded while rushing to help a wounded Marine.

Over the weekend, the many Marines who respected Diaz gathered at Camp Leatherneck, the Marines' headquarters in Helmand province, to honor his memory and mourn his loss.

And in the front row, in a place of honor, was Dino, Diaz's working dog, maintaining a disciplined posture but seemingly unable to look at the large picture of Diaz at the front of the makeshift chapel.

-- Tony Perry in San Diego

Sgt Diaz was laid to rest at Fort Bliss National Cemetery .

He is survived by his mother, Sandra; father, Salvado; children Jeremy and Mia; brothers, Raynaldo and Jeromie; and fiancee, Tonya.

Marine Staff Sgt. Christopher Diaz was killed in action on 9/28/11.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

SSGT Diaz, you have not been forgotten.