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Eight more trees on Stewart's Warrior's Walk

Weather mourns too

POSTED: February 2, 2008 5:02 a.m.
Joe Parker Jr. / Coastal Courier/

Color guard sloshes through ankle-deep water at rainy tree dedication Thursday.

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The weather matched the tone as Fort Stewart dedicated eight more trees to fallen 3rd Infantry Division warriors on a gray, rainy Thursday morning.
Col. Todd Buchs, Fort Stewart garrison commander, said, ”So long as we have soldiers who will make the ultimate sacrifice for their country, we will have room for their trees at Warriors Walk.”
One of the eight was Pfc Ryan D. Christensen, 22, of Spring Lake Heights, N.J., who died at the Medical University of Charleston in Charleston, S.C., on Nov. 24, 2005, of a non-combat related illness identified in Balad, Iraq.
Christensen was not initially honored at Warriors Walk because an Army medical investigation indicated his fatal illness was not related to his deployment to Iraq.
Fort Stewart spokesman Kevin Larson said Christensen's family did not accept this and had remained in contact with the 3rd ID's commanding general, Maj. Gen. Rick Lynch, during two subsequent inquiries into the illness. Those investigations, Larson said, revealed a possible link with Christenson's deployment.
"So now he is honored here, where he belongs,” Larson said. “This is the right thing to do for Pfc. Christensen and his family."
Christensen was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 64th Armor Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team.
Buchs skillfully wove personal information about each soldier into his speech, honoring the eight young men who died in connection with Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Christensen, Buchs said, had a personal interest in technology and used his skills to help an Iraqi radio station while he was deployed.
Sgt. Lui Tumanuvao Sr., 29, of Fagaalu, American Samoa, died Nov. 7 in Arab Jabour, Iraq, of wounds suffered when he was struck by an improvised explosive device during combat operations.
The day of Tumanuvao’s promotion was one of the proudest moments for him and his family, Buchs said. He was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 30th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team.
Sgt. Mason L. Lewis, 26, of Gloucester, Va., died in Baghdad on Nov. 16, as a result of a non-combat related training accident.
Nicknamed as a child “Little Rambo,” Lewis had grown to love the Iraqi people and culture, and had learned to speak Arabic. He was assigned to the 26th Brigade Support Battalion, 2nd Brigade Combat Team.
Sgt. Samuel E. Kelsey, 24, of Troup, Texas, died Dec. 13 in Tunnis, Iraq, of wounds suffered when an improvised explosive device detonated.
Kelsey is remembered as a high school athlete and an outdoorsman. He was assigned to 3rd Battalion, 7th Infantry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team.
Sgt. Daniel McCall, 24, of Pace, Fla., died Oct. 30 of wounds suffered in Salman Pak, Iraq, when enemy forces engaged his unit with small arms fire and an improvised explosive device.
McCall set a record for the 400-meter at his high school in Florida. His record still stands. He was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 15th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, at Fort Benning.
Spc. Rush M. Jenkins, 22, of Clarksville, Tenn., died Oct. 30 of wounds suffered also in Salman Pak, when enemy forces engaged his unit with small arms fire and an improvised explosive device.
Jenkins has a twin brother, Michael, who received word of his death on their shared birthday. He was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 15th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, Fort Benning.
Pfc. Cody M. Carver, 19, of Haskell, Okla., died Oct. 30 in Salman Pak, when enemy forces engaged his unit with small arms fire and an improvised explosive device.
Carver is remembered as a good soldier, who “joined the Army to make a difference. He was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 15th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, at Fort Benning.
Pfc. Dwane A. Covert, 20, of Tonawanda, N.Y., died Nov 3, in Al-Sahra, Iraq, from injuries suffered in a non-combat related incident.
Covert and his wife have a daughter born last month. He was assigned to the 104th Transportation Company, 13th Corps Support Sustainment Battalion, Fort Benning.
 

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