Saturday, October 29, 2011

Army Staff Sgt. Christopher R. Newman

Remember Our Heroes

Army Staff Sgt. Christopher R. Newman, 26, of Shelby, N.C.

SSgt Newman was assigned to Medical Company A, Tripler Army Medical Center, Hawaii; died Oct. 29, 2011 in Kabul province, Afghanistan, of wounds caused by an IED. Also killed were Army Lt. Col. David E. Cabrera, Army Sgt. James M. Darrough and Army Sgt. Carlo F. Eugenio.

by Audrina Bigos
SHELBY, NC-A local family mourns the loss of U.S. Army Sgt. Christopher Newman. The soldier from Shelby was one of 13 Americans and four others killed Saturday in Afghanistan.

Sgt. Newman was Shelby born and raised.

Newman graduated from Crest High School in 2004, leaving behind his younger brother, Brent Newman.

Brent thought his brother's 6’-6’’, 280 pound build made him invincible.

"I'm thinking, just that right there, he ain't getting killed," said Newman.

Brent's grandparents knocked on his door early Sunday morning to tell him his brother was dead.

Sgt. Newman was one of 13 Americans and four others killed on an armored Nato bus in Kabul, Afghanistan. A Taliban suicide bomber rammed the bus with a car filled with explosives.

"I really admire him because he know'd when he went over there that there's that possibility," said Teresa Gregory, Sgt. Newman’s aunt.

Newman was scheduled to come home for a two-week leave on December 31.

It would have been his first time home for the holidays since joining the military in 2004.

"It's going to be hard this year. It's really, really going to be hard,” said Gregory.

Newman’s grandparents, Don and Earlene Newman, flew to Dover, Delaware with Newman's wife to claim his body.

The soldier leaves behind his wife and a 5-year-old daughter.

The Newton family plans to hold Sgt. Newman's funeral this weekend or early next week. The funeral service will take place at Cleveland Funeral Home and Newman will be buried at Cleveland Memorial Park with full military honors.

Crest graduate killed in Afghan suicide attack

SHELBY — A suicide bomber smashed a vehicle piled with explosives into an armored NATO bus Saturday in Kabul, Afghanistan. At least 17 people were killed. Thirteen were Americans including a 2004 Crest High School graduate.

U.S. Army Sgt. Christopher Rod Newman, 25, was on the bus. The bus was en route to a hospital, said Newman’s aunt, Teresa Gregory. Military personnel confirmed his death Sunday morning to Newman’s family. The attack was labeled as a deadly strike against the U.S.-led coalition in Kabul since the war began, according to the Associated Press. The explosion tilted the bus on its side and a fired ensued. The bus was surrounded by military vehicles.

Newman was raised in Shelby by his grandparents. Gregory said he joined the Army just after he graduated high school. He was a counselor in the Army.

Newman was supposed to come home Dec. 31 for two weeks. He left behind a wife and five-year-old daughter from a previous marriage.

“It doesn’t seem real,” Gregory said. “We were really shocked.”

Brent Newman said his older brother had a big heart and enjoyed making people laugh. It is hard for him to say his brother was gone.

“I felt angry when I found out, but now it’s just sorrow,” Brent Newman said. “I loved him. That’s it.”

The family used Facebook Chat to stay in touch with Newman while he was deployed. Gregory said a week never went by when Newman didn’t talk to a family member.

Newman bought a car in Shelby while in Afghanistan. He looked to buy a home in Shelby after he retired from the military, Gregory said.

“He’ll never get to see that car, and he was such a hard worker,” she said. “He would’ve given the shirt off his back.”

Randy Birch said Newman, his cousin, was also his best friend. Birch was one of the last people from home to talk to Newman before he died. Birch said they spoke Friday morning.

“He was concerned about what to get people for Christmas,” Birch said. “I told him not to worry about gifts and just come home safe.”

Birch described Newman as a big guy, standing around 6 feet 6 inches tall. Birch said his cousin was good with computers and loved the Army.

“My mother came crying to me and told me what happened. I was in shock,” Birch said.

Birch said the family often sent care packages to Newman. The family would always send Livermush, Newman’s favorite. Birch said his grandmother sent his cousin desserts in the packages. A red velvet cake and pecan pie sit in her freezer. She was going to send them to Newman in a few days.

Newman’s grandparents planned to join his wife in Dover, Del. Sunday to claim his body.

Newman will be buried in Shelby with funeral arrangements announced this week. The family wants to bring him home, Gregory said.

Army Staff Sgt. Christopher R. Newman was killed in action on 10/29/11.

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