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Army Staff Sgt. Thomas W. Christensen

Died December 25, 2003 Serving During Operation Iraqi Freedom

42, of Atlantic Mine, Mich.; assigned to the 652nd Engineer Battalion, U.S. Army Reserve, based in Ellsworth, Wis.; killed during a mortar attack on Dec. 25 in Baquba, Iraq.

The last time Staff Sgt. Thomas W. Christensen called his oldest brother from Iraq, he was relatively upbeat about life in a war zone.

“He had no complaints about being in Iraq. Other than it was kind of hot in the summer,” said Chris Christensen, of Detroit. In the last call, he said “they were shooting at him a lot less. It wasn’t so hot. He wanted me to send him some coffee.”

The coffee was in the mail when the family got the news that Christensen, 42, had died in a Dec. 25 mortar attack on his living quarters. He was with an Army Reserve bridge-building unit. Christensen joined the Army around 1981 and left in 1994, becoming a reservist, his father said. About two years ago, he moved to Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, where he worked as a carpenter and spent his free time hunting and fishing. Survivors include his father, also named Thomas, and his mother.

— Associated Press

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