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Army Spc. Jeremy E. Christensen

Died November 27, 2004 Serving During Operation Iraqi Freedom

27, of Albuquerque, N.M.; assigned to 1st Squadron, 4th Armored Cavalry Regiment, 1st Infantry Division, Schweinfurt, Germany; killed Nov. 27 when an improvised explosive device detonated near his patrol vehicle in Duilayah, Iraq.

Friend says Albuquerque soldier killed in Iraq was prepared for worst

By Leslie Hoffman

Associated Press

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Spc. Jeremy E. Christensen of Albuquerque entered the Army months after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, ready to sacrifice his life for his country, a close friend said Tuesday.

The 27-year-old soldier was killed Saturday when a homemade bomb was detonated near his patrol vehicle in Duilayah, Iraq.

“He was a brave guy, and he even told me that if something happens to him while he’s in the military at least he was dying for his country,” friend Gerri Jimenez said Tuesday, her voice cracking with emotion.

“He was prepared for the war,” she said. “He wasn’t scared.”

Army spokeswoman Martha Rudd said no one else was injured in the attack that killed Christensen. Such explosives are a common way in which soldiers in Iraq are killed, she added.

Rudd was assigned to 1st Squadron, 4th Armored Cavalry Regiment, 1st Infantry Division, based out of Schweinfurt, Germany, which had been deployed to Iraq.

Christensen, who was born in Nevada, entered the Army in December 2001, according to the military.

Jimenez said Christensen’s family in Portland, Ore., was preparing a statement Tuesday and was not speaking with reporters.

Christensen moved to Albuquerque from Portland to work as the office manager for a bail bonds company, Jimenez said. Jimenez’s brother worked at the Albuquerque firm, and she and Christensen struck up a close friendship.

“He was a workaholic,” she said. “He wanted to do a good job. He always did a good job.”

Then came Sept. 11, and Christensen decided he was needed elsewhere.

“He said to me that the reason he wanted to join the military was because of 9-11 and all the people who got killed on 9-11,” she said. “He thought he needed to serve his country and keep us safe.”

Once he joined up, the two didn’t talk much, she said. However, she said Christensen did visit family in Portland in September.

“He was a great person. He cared about people,” she said. “He had lots of friends.”

Christensen was the seventh New Mexico service member killed in Iraq since the U.S. invasion last year.

Soldier remembered for his quiet heroism

CLACKAMAS, Ore. — Friends and family say Spc. Jeremy E. Christensen wasn’t one for telling war stories. They said the 27-year-old didn’t want to celebrate his deeds or cause others to worry.

At Tuesday’s funeral at the New Hope Community Church, Staff Sgt. Mike Sampsell was able to describe the heroics of Christensen, who was killed Nov. 27 in Duluiyah, Iraq, when his tank was destroyed by a roadside bomb.

The men met in March 2002, not long after Christensen, previously an Oregon National Guardsman, decided to re-enlist, motivated by the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11.

Christensen was a few years older than the other soldiers in the Anvil Troop of the 1st Squadron, 4th Armored Cavalry Regiment, 1st Infantry Division, and his maturity and easygoing temperament stood out, Sampsell said.

“The entire time that I knew him, I never heard him once complain about anything,” Sampsell said. “It made him very easy to get along with.”

The training didn’t prepare the men for the poor, torn-up areas they patrolled, often meeting children with little to eat or drink, Sampsell said.

“Jeremy was always good to the children,” Sampsell said. “You could see that he genuinely cared, felt sorry for them, and that he wanted to help. The only thing he cared more about was the safety of his fellow soldier.”

In May, Sampsell was patrolling on foot with three other soldiers in Duluiyah. Crossing an intersection, they came under intense fire from machine guns and rocket-propelled grenades.

The group’s only cover was a curb. Sampsell radioed for help and got an answer from Christensen’s tank.

“As they approached, I could see Jeremy in the loader’s hatch manning the M240 machine gun,” Sampsell said. “I pointed out the direction of the enemy, and Jeremy immediately took them under fire. He was standing in the hatch the entire time, completely exposed to enemy fire, but he did not budge.”

Without Christensen, “Every member of my team would have been wounded or possibly killed,” Sampsell said. “He saved our lives that day, while disregarding his own safety.”

During the firefight, Christensen’s arm was “zinged” by a bullet — a skin wound that he later told his family was a reaction to a vaccination.

Despite Christensen’s courage, he realized how dangerous his assignment was, said friends Jeremy and Angie Hubbard of Vancouver, Wash.

On leave last August, he made Angie Hubbard promise not to let her husband go to Iraq. Christensen also made her promise to “be there” for his mother, Linda Hakes of Newberg.

Later Tuesday, at the Willamette National Cemetery, friends and family stood silently as the honor guard fired a salute. Gov. Ted Kulongoski, who honored Christensen as “the very best Oregon had to offer,” kneeled to give his mother a state flag. Silently, she stroked it, along with his medals, a Purple Heart for being wounded in action and a Bronze Star for valor.

— Associated Press

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