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Army Pfc. Christopher W. Lotter

Died December 31, 2008 Serving During Operation Iraqi Freedom

20, of Chester Heights, Pa.; was assigned to the 3rd Battalion, 7th Field Artillery Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, Schofield Barracks, Hawaii; died Dec. 31 in Balad, Iraq, of wounds sustained when he was shot by enemy forces in Tikrit.

Schofield soldier, 20, killed in Iraq

By William Cole

Honolulu Advertiser

A 20-year-old Schofield Barracks soldier who joined the Army just a year ago has been killed in Iraq, the Pentagon said yesterday.

Pfc. Christopher W. Lotter, of Chester Heights, Pa., died New Year’s Eve in Balad from wounds suffered when he was shot by enemy forces in Tikrit, the Army said.

He was the first fatality for the more than 3,500 soldiers of the 3rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team, which deployed to northern Iraq in October and November, Schofield officials said.

A release put out by Multinational Force-Iraq, a U.S. command in the country, previously said a U.S. soldier died Dec. 31 from injuries sustained during combat operations on Dec. 30.

Lotter was assigned to the 3rd Battalion, 7th Field Artillery Regiment of the 3rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division.

He joined the Army in January 2008 and was assigned to Schofield Barracks in June, officials said. Lotter was single and has no family in Hawaii, according to the Army.

A family member contacted by phone in Pennsylvania yesterday declined to comment.

A neighbor in the townhouse community where the Lotters live said Christopher was very fit, and before he left, he could frequently be seen washing and cleaning a small green pickup truck.

Although violence is down in Iraq, Hawaii has continued to experience some troop losses — particularly with the large number of Schofield soldiers in Iraq.

The total includes about 1,000 with the 25th Infantry Division headquarters; 3,500 with the 3rd Brigade; 4,300 with the Stryker Brigade; 700 with the 84th Engineer Battalion; and 375 with the 65th Engineer Battalion.

The 3rd Brigade, which covered Kirkuk province on a previous deployment, is responsible this deployment for Kirkuk and Salah ad Din provinces.

Recent deaths have included that of Sgt. Solomon T. Sam, 26, of Majuro, Marshall Islands, who was killed Dec. 4 when a suicide bomber detonated a car with explosives near a checkpoint in the northern city of Mosul, officials said.

Sam was with the 84th Engineer Battalion.

Pfc. Christopher A. McCraw, 23, of Mississippi, was killed in Baghdad on Oct. 14 when a gunshot hit him in the abdomen under his body armor. McCraw was with the 1st Battalion, 21st Infantry, out of Schofield.

A Hawaii-based Marine, Lance Cpl. Thomas Reilly Jr., 19, was killed Dec. 21 in a surprise attack while supporting combat operations in Anbar province in western Iraq. He was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 3rd Marines, at Kaneohe Bay.

Lotter recalled as formal, curious

The Associated Press

One of Christopher W. Lotter’s former teachers, Harry Gird, said Lotter was a popular student and very well-liked.

“He was above average in intelligence and many-faceted,” Gird said. “He had a very nice personality and always tried to bring humor to the classroom by making a joke when things got dreary. He won many friends this way. He was terribly popular.”

Lotter, 20, of Chester Heights, Pa., died Dec. 31 in Balad, Iraq, of wounds from enemy fire in Tikrit. He was a 2006 graduate of a high school in South Africa and entered the Army in January 2008. He was assigned to Schofield Barracks.

Gird described his formal pupil, who used his middle name of Warren, as a humane young man who was proud to be a soldier and enjoyed making contact with the children in the areas where he was assigned.

More than 400 people gathered for a Jan. 3 memorial service for Lotter in Iraq. A memorial service also was held in South Africa “Everyone in the church was in tears as an American officer saluted Warren’s photo in the front of the church, and as people in the church lit candles for him,” Gird said of Lotter.

He is survived by his father, Barry, and mother, Marlene.

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