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Army Sgt. Christopher J. Birdwell

Died August 27, 2012 Serving During Operation Enduring Freedom

25, of Windsor, Colo.; assigned to 4th Special Troops Battalion, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, Fort Carson, Colo.; died Aug. 27 in Kalagush, Afghanistan, of injuries suffered from small-arms fire. Also killed was Army Spc. Mabry J. Anders, 21, of Baker City, Ore.

Fort Carson honors soldiers killed in Afghanistan

The Associated Press

FORT CARSON, Colo.— Fort Carson is holding a memorial service for two soldiers killed in Afghanistan.

Sgt. Christopher J. Birdwell of Windsor, Colo., and Spc. Mabry J. Anders of Baker City, Ore., will be honored at the service on Thursday at the infantry post outside Colorado Springs.

The noon service will include the traditional roll call, rifle squad salute and the playing of Taps.

Birdwell and Anders died in Kabul on Aug. 27. The Defense Department said they were killed by enemy small-arms fire.

Birdwell was 25 and Anders 21. Both were assigned to the 4th Brigade Combat Team, part of Fort Carson's 4th Infantry Division.

A funeral for Birdwell is scheduled for Friday in Loveland, with burial at Fort Logan National Cemetery in Denver.

Flags lowered to honor soldier, sheriff’s captain

The Associated Press

DENVER — Gov. John Hickenlooper has ordered flags to fly at half-staff in honor of a soldier from Windsor and a Pueblo County sheriff’s officer who died in the line of duty in separate incidents.

Flags will be lowered on all public buildings statewide on Friday to honor Staff Sgt. Christopher J. Birdwell and Pueblo Sheriff’s Capt. Leide William DeFusco.

Birdwell was killed Aug. 27 in Afghanistan. He was assigned to the 4th Brigade Combat Team, part of the 4th Infantry Division at Fort Carson.

DeFusco died in an Aug. 31 plane crash while searching for evidence of a marijuana farm.

Hundreds gather to remember soldier killed in Afghanistan

By Trevor Hughes
Windsor Beacon

Hundreds of mourners paid their respects Friday morning to a Windsor man killed fighting in Afghanistan with the Army.

Staff Sgt. Christopher Birdwell, 25, died Aug. 27 in Kalagush, Afghanistan, of injuries suffered from enemy small arms fire, the Army said. Birdwell was a 2005 graduate of Windsor High School.

Birdwell’s friends and family called him one of “America’s best,” a thrill seeker and daredevil who loved fast cars, snowmobiles and jumping out of airplanes. But he also brought humor and light to any room he entered, mourners said.

“He lived life boldly and he stood out,” said his uncle Jeff Riley. “He loved to make you happy, and he loved to make you laugh.”

Riley added, “Chris is our hero.”

In a recorded tribute, younger sister Maley Birdwell recounted how her brother arrived home unexpectedly one day, snuck into the dark room where she was sleeping, flipped on the lights and started yelling. Loudly.

“He has a laugh I’ll never forget,” she said.

Birdwell, who was on his third combat tour in Afghanistan, was assigned to the 4th Special Troops Battalion, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, based in Fort Carson. A large contingent of uniformed military men and women attended the funeral at Resurrection Fellowship church, and a table near the entrance bore Birdwell’s combat boots and armor, alongside a snowboard and a motorcycle helmet.

Kirt Hughett, pastor at Windsor Church of Christ, said it’s people such as Birdwell who protect American freedoms, not the poets who practice free speech, the reporters who exercise freedom of the press nor the politicians who court votes. Hughett urged mourners to thank the uniformed men and women attending Friday’s service.

And then he closed his remarks by quoting Birdwell: “In the words of Chris, peace out.”

Birdwell was to be buried in Fort Logan on Friday afternoon. Well-wishers lined the roads around the church, many of them carrying American flags. Birdwell’s funeral procession was escorted from the church through Windsor and then onto Fort Logan National Cemetery by Patriot Guard riders.

According to the Army, a vehicle in which Birdwell and his men were riding broke down. When they got out to fix it, an Afghan soldier opened fire on them, killing Birdwell and Spc. Mabry J. Anders, 21, of Baker City, Ore. The Afghan was then killed by an airstrike, the Army told Birdwell’s family.

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