18 October 2007

Schweinfurt holds memorial for Sky Soldier PFC Christopher F. Pfeifer

SCHWEINFURT, Germany — He was a proud paratrooper, a proud husband, a proud father-to-be. On Tuesday, the military community assembled at Ledward Barracks chapel to pay their respects.

After fighting for almost six weeks, Pfc. Christopher Franklin Pfeifer, 21, died Sept. 25 at Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio. His daughter, Peyton, was born the next day.

During an Aug. 17 firefight at Camp Keating in eastern Afghanistan, Pfeifer was shot after pulling his injured buddies to safety. He was a member of 1st Squadron, 91st Cavalry Regiment, 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team “Sky Soldiers.”

Rushed to Forward Operating Base Naray after he was hit, Pfeifer was operated on for six hours, using 33 pints of blood. Paratroops lined up to donate. When he was soon moved to Bagram air base en route to the States, more than 100 more servicemembers lined up, said Lt. Col. Chris Kolenda, commander, 1-91, in an Oct. 1 ceremony in Afghanistan, whose remarks were read by 1-91 rear detachment commander, Capt. John Opladen, during the Tuesday service.

He was absolutely committed to the mission and the team, Kolenda said of Pfeifer.

“In difficult times, tough things are asked of tough men … We will remember his smile, remember his professionalism, remember his devotion to his team, but most of all, we will remember his toughness,” Kolenda said of Pfeifer, who had taken part in all of the most intense battles the cavalrymen of 1-91 had seen since entering Afghanistan.

Kolenda also commented on Pfeifer’s “eternal smile.”

In addition to his baby girl, Pfeifer is survived by his wife, Karen; parents Michael and Darlina; brother, Sgt. 1st Class Aaron, 7th Special Forces Group; and sister, Nikki Griffith.

One of his fellow soldiers said, “I hope his daughter has his smile.”

PFC Pfeifer was laid to rest Wednesday, October 10 in Spalding, Nebraska after a funeral that drew 500 mourners to St. Michael's Catholic Church while several hundred others lined the streets outside. 200 members of the Patriot Guard Riders and dozens of American Legion members were also in attendance.

The small community of 600 had not lost a soldier in action since 1951.

Godspeed, PFC Pfeifer.

Click here for more 173rd ABCT Afghanistan posts.

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