News: Fallen Spartan hero honored for sacrifice
Story by Sgt. Javier Amador
LOGAR PROVINCE, Afghanistan (May 6, 2014) —The Spartan Soldiers of the 2nd Battalion, 87th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Infantry Division (Light Infantry), held a memorial service May 6, 2014, in honor of U.S. Army Spc. Christian Chandler at Forward Operating Base Shank, Afghanistan.
Chandler, of Trenton, Texas, was killed in action April 28, 2014, when his unit was attacked by enemy forces with small-arms fire in the Baraki Barak district of Logar province.
The memorial service gave the Spartan Soldiers an opportunity to do more than render the honors reserved for those who make the ultimate sacrifice. It gave them an opportunity to express how much more than a fellow Soldier Chandler was to them.
“Christian Chandler was more than a battle buddy -- more than a best friend … he was my brother,” said Spc. Spencer Smith. “For the people that did not have the fortune of knowing Christian as well as I did, Christian was in every sense the nicest, most respectful young man I have ever met. He would never say no when it came to helping you out in any way possible.”
Chandler had a profound impact on everyone he came in contact with in the unit. His willingness to carry more than his share of the load and to accomplish his assigned tasks obligingly and competently regardless of the difficulty are just two of the many traits which made him the Soldier he was.
“On the day Specialist Chandler was mortally wounded, he was serving as an ammo bearer on the machine gun team. After he was medically evacuated, I carried his bag as we left and was immediately amazed by the weight of the ammo and gear he was carrying,” said U.S. Army Capt. Luke Hallsten, the commander of Blackhawk Company, 2nd Battalion, 87th Infantry Regiment. “He never once complained about his load or the task at hand, this was not the type of man that Specialist Chandler was. Whatever was thrown at him he accepted it -- never complaining.”
Chandler’s quiet dignity, depth of character and approachability inspired everyone around him to want to be better.
“There were some hard times that some of Specialist Chandler’s Soldiers were going through. When they really felt like they were being flattened under the weight of some heavy burdens in their own lives and Specialist Chandler was there to pick up the burdens and carried them on his own back,” said U.S. Army Chaplain (Capt.) John Ulrick, the chaplain for the 2nd Battalion, 87th Infantry Regiment. “That’s one reason I’d like to be more like Specialist Chandler. It is because of his selfless love, care, concern, and service for others.”
U.S. Army Spc. Andrew Oden was one of Chandler’s closest friends in the platoon, and he remembered him not only for his generous and courageous spirit but for the pride he had in continuing his family’s extensive tradition of serving their country.
“He loved doing his job, and the way he viewed it was that while we are here. We should do what we were trained to do. To close in and destroy the enemy,” said Oden. “He was one in a long line of close family members to join the infantry, either in the Army or the Marines. He was proud of that and felt that there was nothing in the world that had more meaning than serving your country in combat.”