Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Caleb Christopher remembered

The family of a Chandler soldier who was killed Sunday in Iraq remembered him Friday as a gentle and intelligent man despite his intimidating stature.

"He was a man of few words with many thoughts and many actions," said Sarah Christopher, sister of Sgt. Caleb P. Christopher, 25.

The family, which had remained quiet since news of his death was released by the Army on Wednesday, spoke outside their rural Chandler home and horse farm.

Rebecca Cadrow, Christopher's fiancée, described him as "catlike" and "cuddly." His last words to her the night before an improvised explosive device detonated near his vehicle were, "I love you always and forever."

Her fondest memories of their time together were the road trips they took, traveling to states as close as California and as far as Louisiana.

"He loved to relax to music in the car," Cadrow said, wiping away a tear. "He even carried his iPod with him in Iraq."

She said although he liked all genres of music, his favorite song was Simple Man by Lynyrd Skynyrd.

"He always could convince you he was right," said Edward "E-Jay" Christopher Jr., Caleb's older brother. "He thought things out methodically."

So when the Hamilton High graduate announced his decision to enlist in the Army and then later extend his service, his family and friends did not argue.

"I'm always going to support you in whatever you do," Cadrow told him.

Caleb Christopher served in Afghanistan from 2002 to '03. He deployed to Iraq in 2004 and then again last fall with the 1st Battalion, 8th Cavalry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division.

He was scheduled to return from his third tour in the Middle East on June 1 but extended his stay so he could go before the promotion board.

He earned numerous awards and decorations during his service: Army Commendation Medal, Army Achievement Medal, Army Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Iraq Campaign Medal, Global War on Terrorism (Service) Medal, Army Service Ribbon, Combat Infantryman Badge, Expert Infantryman Badge, Parachutist Badge, and Army Reserve Recruiter Badge.

From the Arizona Republic

Related Link:
Caleb P. Christopher dies 'of wounds suffered when an improvised explosive device detonated near his vehicle'