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Army Pfc. Ryan D. Christensen

Died November 24, 2005 Serving During Operation Iraqi Freedom


22, of Spring Lake Heights, N.J.; assigned to the 1st Battalion, 64th Armor Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, Fort Stewart, Ga.; died Nov. 24 at the Medical University of Charleston in Charleston, S.C., of a non-combat-related illness identified Nov. 10 in Balad, Iraq.



N.J. soldier dies after falling ill in Iraq

The Associated Press

TRENTON, N.J. — A soldier from New Jersey has died after developing a bacterial infection while serving in Iraq.

Army Pfc. Ryan D. Christensen, 22, died Thanksgiving Day at the Medical University of Charleston in Charleston, S.C., the Pentagon said Monday.

Christensen, who grew up in the Manasquan area, was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 64th Armor Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, based at Fort Stewart, Ga.

He joined the Army in August 2002 and worked in communications, according to family members.

He had been in Iraq since January.

Earlier this month, he developed a fever and rash, said his uncle, Charles Conner, of Lacey’s Forked River section. He was taken first to Kuwait, then to Germany, before being flown back to the U.S., Conner said.

Christensen’s mother and stepfather, Suzette and Mark Detulio, live in Brick.

He attended Manasquan High School, then earned his high school diploma through an adult education program offered by the Monmouth County Vocational School District.

“He went into the Army and did so well,” said his great-uncle, Noel Switzer of Brick. “He went from a young man who didn’t know where he was going to someone with direction and commitment.”

Christensen was stationed in South Korea for about a year before his Iraq tour, his uncles said.

He was an avid video game player who liked working with computers and electronic equipment. In Iraq, he helped develop and maintain a Web site for a pro-American radio station, Peace106FM, Switzer said.

“He was very good at what he did,” said Switzer, who said he kept in touch with his nephew in Iraq via e-mail.

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