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Army Spc. Brett T. Christian

Died July 23, 2003 Serving During Operation Iraqi Freedom


27, North Royalton, Ohio; assigned to Company C, 2nd Battalion, 502 Infantry, 101st Airborne Division, Fort Campbell, Ky.; died while riding in a convoy that came under attack July 23 by rocket-propelled grenades in Mosul, Iraq.


Ohio soldier buried at Arlington National Cemetery

Associated Press

ARLINGTON, Va. — The mother and two younger brothers of an Ohio soldier killed in Iraq knelt in the rain before his wooden casket at Arlington National Cemetery on Aug. 7 to say goodbye.

About 50 family members and friends stood nearby as Maj. Douglas Fenton said a prayer for Army Spc. Brett T. Christian, whom Fenton called an American hero.

“I have a request to make of all of you and that is when time permits, write your memories of Brett and send them to his family,” Fenton said.

Christian, 27, of North Royalton in suburban Cleveland, was driving a troop truck in Mosul, Iraq, on July 23 when his convoy was ambushed by rocket-propelled grenades. In Cleveland, it was still July 22, his mother’s 47th birthday.

Tess Christian, a self-employed multimedia artist, said her son always wanted to be a soldier and enlisted before he finished high school.

Six soldiers carried his coffin to the graveside while a lone bugler played ‘Taps.’

Christian’s mother was presented a Bronze Star and a Purple Heart by Lt. Gen. Dan K. McNeil, commander of the 18th Airborne Corps.

Christian is one of 10 Ohio soldiers killed in Iraq since the war started March 19. A memorial service for him was held last Saturday in Broadview Heights, a Cleveland suburb.


Family, friends hold memorial for slain soldier

BROADVIEW HEIGHTS, Ohio — Family, friends and soldiers gathered Saturday to mourn Army Spc. Brett Christian, who was killed in Iraq in July when his convoy was ambushed.

“Brett was extremely bright, he had a very high IQ,” Eileen Christian said of her grandson while standing outside Cuyahoga Valley Community Church.

Christian, who flew in from Tampa, Fla., for the memorial service, said her grandson was open-minded and had a wonderful, dry sense of humor.

“He was a quiet boy,” she said. “He didn’t have to be out in front. He wasn’t one of these show-offy types just a lovely boy.”

Soldiers who served with the 27-year-old from North Royalton, Ohio, described Christian as a leader. When the unit commander needed a bridge secured in Iraq, he called on Christian to lead the point-group, they said. Christian helped secure the overpass and later directed the group back to Kuwait after the expedition got lost, they said.

Christian was a “very, very dependable soldier — the kind of guy that you would want to have in a foxhole with you,” said the Rev. Rich Duncan, the church’s pastor.

Christian is one of 10 Ohio soldiers killed in Iraq since the war started March 19.

He was assigned to Company C in the 2nd Battalion, 502nd Infantry, 101st Airborne Division and stationed at Fort Campbell, Ky.

The Christians moved to the Cleveland area from Long Island, N.Y., 13 years ago. Brett Christian attended Richmond Heights and St. Edward high schools.

He was driving a troop truck that was blown up in an ambush about 6 a.m., Iraq time, on July 23. In Cleveland, it was still July 22, his mother’s 47th birthday.

Christian will be buried at Arlington National Cemetery.

— Associated Press


Slain soldier’s mother remembers his expressive eyes

CLEVELAND — The mother of an Ohio soldier killed in Iraq says she knew her son was dead the minute she heard news reports about the attack in Mosul.

“I knew it was him,” Tess Christian said, citing mother’s intuition. “It’s such a gut-wrenching feeling.”

Army Spc. Brett Christian, 27, was killed July 23 when his convoy came under attack by rocket-propelled grenades, the Department of Defense said.

The Christians moved to the Cleveland area from Long Island, N.Y., 13 years ago. Brett Christian attended Richmond Heights High School and St. Edward High School.

He was driving a troop truck that was blown up in an ambush about 6 a.m., Iraq time. In Cleveland, it was still July 22, his mother’s 47th birthday.

“My son was such an angel,” said Christian, a single mother of three sons. “They say the eyes are the windows of the soul. His eyes swelled with emotion. They were bright and welcoming.”

High school friend Jonathan Wilke remembered attending art class with Christian.

“He threw a penny at the girl next to me and I got in trouble for it,” Wilke told The Plain Dealer.

Wilke, 27, last saw his friend just before he left for Iraq. They talked about opening a restaurant together when his Army hitch was over.

He never imagined that his friend might be killed.

“He was bigger than life, the type that could always come back,” Wilke said.

Christian will be buried in Arlington National Cemetery, his mother said. A memorial service was planned for Saturday in Broadview Heights, a Cleveland suburb.

Tess Christian, a self-employed multimedia artist, said her son always wanted to be a soldier and enlisted before he finished high school.

In the Army, Brett Christian was trained as a sniper and served a year in Korea before being called to Iraq.

In letters from Iraq, he praised the Kurdish and Iraqi people and talked about the tough battle conditions.

The last letter Christian wrote from Iraq was to his grandparents, Thomas and Eileen Christian of Sun City, Fla.

“I should be returning in September when I look forward to my first real hamburger in six months,” he wrote. “Please give my love and I hope to see you some day soon.”

Besides his mother, he is survived by two brothers, Derek Salustro, 21, a student at the University of Toledo, and Sloan Salustro, 20, a student at Kent State University.

— Associated Press


In letters from Iraq, Brett T. Christian praised the Kurdish and Iraqi people and talked about the tough battle conditions. His last letter was to his grandparents, Thomas and Eileen Christian of Sun City, Fla.

“I should be returning in September when I look forward to my first real hamburger in six months,” he wrote. “Please give my love and I hope to see you some day soon.”

Christian, 27, of North Royalton, Ohio, and stationed at Fort Campbell, was killed early on July 23 when his convoy came under attack by rocket-propelled grenades. In Ohio, it was still July 22 — his mother’s 47th birthday.

Tess Christian said her son always wanted to be a soldier and enlisted before finishing high school. In the Army, he was trained as a sniper and served a year in Korea.

“My son was such an angel,” said Christian, a single mother of three sons. “They say the eyes are the windows of the soul. His eyes swelled with emotion. They were bright and welcoming.” His eyes swelled with emotion. They were bright and welcoming.”— Associated Press

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