In Memoriam – CPT Christopher Petty FA

My friend, Paul Petty wrote last night to tell us that his son, Captain Christopher PettyDaddyoliverowen2 was killed in action yesterday in Iraq.

"Dear Friends and Family:
    "Greater love hath no man than this, that he give up his life for his friends."
    Early this morning In Iraq, Chris and four of his soldiers were killed by a so-called "improvised explosive devise" implanted along the route they were taking between Baghdad and Najaf, to the South.  Details, at this point, are sketchy but we know that the explosion was powerful enough to kill all five occupants of the armored HUMVEE in which they were traveling.  He had been in Iraq only a few weeks.
    This we know for certain.  Chris was in harm’s way out of dedication to his comrades and soldiers.  He loved his family deeply. But he also loved his troops and, after he took command of the Headquarters Battery, despite his frustrations with the army and a full awareness of what was right and wrong about Iraq, there was absolutely no question in his mind that he had to go back with his soldiers for the second deployment.  He would never expect them to do anything that he wouldn’t do himself.  He was a professional in every sense of the word, as were his men.  Their dedication to their mission and to each other was unswerving.  Those of us who have never been in combat do not know of the kind of bonds which develop among fellow soldiers.  And though my heart ached to see him go for a second time, I could never bring myself to pressure him not to do what he did.  I know his wife feels the same way.  It was his choice as it is the choice of all of our soldiers.  The level of dedication and selflessness among them is unequaled and almost unfathomable in our society.
    Chris is the first member of our family to die in combat since W.W.II.  He is survived by a Grandfather who served in that war and an Uncle who served in Vietnam.  We grieve!  Oh, how we grieve for him!  And for his wife, Deb, his 3 year old son, Oliver, and his less than three month old son, Owen, who will never know his sweet Daddy.  God rest his soul.
    Chris asked to be buried in Arlington, should the worst happen.  He liked the dignity of military ceremony and took the rituals seriously.  I am sure he thought they would comfort us and in some small way demonstrate the appreciation of the nation to his grieving family and friends.  We will do our best to see that his wishes are honored and to honor his memory in our lives.
Alan Farrell’s thoughts on this sacrifice:

"It is the sad business of this kind of thing that we thin the gene pool by its best and most able, aggressive, and dedicated representatives.

It was, seemed to me in Vietnam, the best of my buds who stood up under fire, went over the ridge first, stayed at the site of contact last. It fell to guys like me to follow them… and, sadly, to survive them out here where I bear the double shame of not being their worthy and of living among those who neither went out, nor went after. Now I see my best students go out, then come back bearing that same shame over outliving their bros and returning to this anthill of weaker citizens, "blinding and pinching and fucking," as I think T.E. Lawrence said in his "Mint"; "filching their lucre and gulping their stale beer," as I think Conrad says on last page of "Heart." So it goes…"   AFF

"Pro Patria."

Pat Lang

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38 Responses to In Memoriam – CPT Christopher Petty FA

  1. Susan says:

    We’re so sorry, and thank Chris’s family for his extraordinary service and sacrifice.

  2. Dan says:

    Pat – Please give my heartfelt thanks and condolences to your friend. I thank his son for being a good and honorable soldier.

  3. W. Patrick Lang says:

    Thanks for sending this. CPT Petty is in my brother-in-law’s Brigade Combat Team (BCT) in 4ID, and they are taking this hard, as are the 4ID families at Ft Hood. We have lost 9 soldiers in the past week and they have just arrived in country.

  4. Max says:

    My heartfelt condolences to all our troops who have paid the ultimate sacrifice.
    What a shame to lose these brave souls for a war of choice based on lies. For a war that need not have happened if our President had the maturity to first fully exploit other options including determining if Saddam truly had WMD and posed a threat to us and other nations. For a war where there was inadequate forces and planning. Will we as a nation learn from this? Will we continue to tolerate the corruption, abuse of power and incompetence of this administration?

  5. Larry Mitchell says:

    When the KIAs get names, it’s so different and so much more painful. The men and women who serve and sacrifice for us deserve better decisions from us. Maybe we can honor their sacrifices in a small way by doing a better job running this country that they died to protect. My sincere condolences to the family of CPT Petty for their terrible loss.

  6. Charles Petty, COL, USA (Ret) says:

    Chris was my second cousin once removed. I never had the chance to meet him, though he was stationed only some 280 miles from me.
    Because I know Paul, his father, I feel this loss especially.
    Chris was working hard at making the world safe from despots like Saddam. May God bless all our military personnel who are proving to us every day that freedom is not free.

  7. monica keller says:

    My son is performing his first tour of duty and served under CPT Petty. He spoke very highly of him both as an officer and an individual. My sincere condolences to his family and to the families of those brave Soldiers who died alongside of him. My husband and I read his article posted in the December 2005 Thunder News and were both cheered and soothed by his words and sense of pride in his men. Our prayers are with all of our brave Soldiers who serve our country and their families.

  8. Justin Wilcox says:

    God Bless Chris and his family. I saw the news last night on TV in Washington, DC. I graduated from Madison High School with Chris, and ran into him at Fort Bragg several years later on an airborne operation. We have all lost an outstanding leader and citizen. All the Way! Airborne!

  9. Susan, Gayle, Matt, JoLynn & Taylor Gertson says:

    Dear Petty Family,
    Our thoughts and prayers are with you during this time of great loss. We know your pain, having lost our son, SPC Clint Gertson last year. Our other son, SGT Matt Gertson served with Chris during their first deployment to Iraq, and knew him well. God bless Chris and his family for paying the ultimate sacrifice for not only our country, but the citizens of Iraq.

  10. JOHN VALDEZ says:

    I always enjoyed hearing of Chris’ experiences in the Army and was envious of the things he had done and why he did them. I am saddened by his loss and haven’t the words to say to Deb. I’m sorry. Chris lived his dream and inspired some of us by rolling with the punches and coming out on top. I’ll miss him. I don’t know what to say, I’m sad

  11. CH (CPT) Dennis Hysom says:

    I had the honor of serving with Chris when both of us were on DIVARTY Staff of 4ID. He was a wonderful leader. I will keep his family in my prayers. His presence will be missed.

  12. leonard aaron nida says:

    I had the pleasure of knowing Petty during our ROTC time at Marshall University. My thoughts and prayers go out to you his family. I saw the picture of him with his beautiful children. (I have a nine month old and an eight year old.)I am sadden at their loss. May you find comfort in our Lord.
    Please send details as arrangements are made. Again God bless, Aaron Nida

  13. Adam Cox says:

    God Bless the family of Chris Petty. I had gone to high school with Chris and we graduated together in 1991. My memory of Chris was always a smiling face. My family life was split up after high school and I was very depressed. I could always count on Chris to have an open door, and open ear for me. Even though I have not spoken to Chris in over 10 years, I owe him as a friend to say thank you from the bottom of my heart for being there for me as a friend, and being there for us as american citizens. God Bless You.

  14. Mike Schulz says:

    May God bless the Petty family. I had the greatest honor of serving with CPT. Petty as his HMMWV driver in Iraq on his first tour. I will always hold a special place in my heart for him. Although our time together was only about 4 months long, he helped me in a very troubling time as my wife and I lost our first child. I could always count on his smiling face and chipper attitude to keep things that much better for us while we were there. Thank you Chris and God bless you.

  15. Cindy Lanzing says:

    I wanted to express my deepest condoleences to the Petty family (they may or may not remember me as a 12-year-old who was more in Lisa’s age group). Although I only knew Chris as a child, I am honored to have known him at all, however briefly.
    Please know that the thoughts and condolences of my entire family are with you in this very difficult time.
    Cindy Lanzing

  16. Chance Webster says:

    I was assigned to the same Artillery unit Chris was while in South Korea. He was always open and honest when you asked him a question about something, whether it was serious or not. Always a jokester, but deadly serious when it was required. Even though I may not have known him as well as those who were close to him or went to college with him, know that his life, humor, and wit touched all those around him. Chris will be sorely missed by those he knew and served with. God be with you my friend and may your memory last a thousand lifetimes. To his wife and family, my deepest sympathies. God be with you all.
    Chance Webster

  17. Tracey Roberts CW3, FA (Ret) says:

    Chris and I served together on the 4ID DIVARTY Staff and we lived together for about half of our first tour in Iraq. Thanks Chris for shouldering much of the workload in planning and fighting this war while at the 4ID DIVARTY. Thanks Chris for keeping humor and sanity in a stressful environment. Thanks Chris for the significant contributions made, brilliant application of common sense, Power Point Ranger contribution, and hillarious imitations of Maj Dewitt. My heart is heavy and I pray that all his family is moved by what Chris accomplished during his service to this country.
    Tracey Roberts

  18. Richard Shullaw says:

    I am a backyard neighbor of the Petty family when they lived in Vienna, Virginia. I knew Chris since he was 7 years old and was at his high school graduation, engagement party and wedding. He was a great and wonderful friend to my children, who are a couple of years younger.
    Chris will be buried tomorrow at Arlington National Cemetery. I have printed out copies of all your comments and given them to Kathy Petty, Chris’ mother. She is very grateful for all the things you have shared about Chris.
    Deb, Oliver and Owen will be there, as will all the other members of the Petty family.
    I will post another update after the funeral. In the meantime, many thanks again.
    Richard Shullaw

  19. Richard Hubbard says:

    Christopher Petty was eulogized on NPR today (January 17 2006).
    here is the link to morning edition, Eric Neeler is the reporter:

  20. Sgt Lopez, Julio says:

    I had the opportunity to serve
    with CPT Petty in the first
    deployment and what good man
    he was, and a great soldier
    at that. My condolences to his
    family and my prayers go out to him.

  21. John Turner says:

    I went to Fay School with Chris in 1987. He and I became good friends and I later visited him and his family in Jamaica. He was a great person when I knew him and I thought if him often over the years. It is very sad to hear of his death.
    My heart goes out to his wife and young children, may Chris’s spirit live on in them.

  22. Major Peter D. Zike says:

    My greatest condolences for his family. Chris was a good man to have next to you. I know first hand how dedicated he was to his well founded beliefs in our country. I served as his commander at Ft. Bragg in the late 1990’s. This war has taken quite a few of our most devoted patriots and for his service he paid the ultimate price. He will be sorely missed as well as those who have also sacrificed.
    Very Respectfully,
    Major Peter D. Zike

  23. Deborah Petty says:

    This is Chris’ wife. I wanted to thank all of you for posting such kind and loving memories of Chris. He loved his Army, Country, and family. He died doing what he loved and believed in. Thank you again for all your kindness, prayers and love. My boys will have a well rounded idea of who their father was.
    God Bless

  24. Sandra Brown says:

    I have to say I will never forget the phone call I received from Iraq just days after it occurred. My husband choked back trying to hold in the emotion as he told me the names of his fallen brethren. The last name was the hardest for him to say, stopping 2 or 3 times to try to compose himself enough to speak, “Captain Petty”. I couldn’t help but weep in this news as I knew the importance this man held in my husbands life in the short time that he had been stationed to the same unit. My husband looked at him as a great leader and a great family man as well. The knowledge of his very young children that will never truly know their beloved father also hit me very hard. There is no greater loss to this country, to Fort Hood, to the 4th Infantry Division, to the men that served under and along side him in the 3/16 field artillery, and to his beloved family. You will all be in my memory forever. Thank you for your sacrifice as there is no way that we can every repay you for his service to this country and the dedication to men like my husband. Thank you, God bless you.

  25. taters says:

    God bless you and thank you for your selfless service, Captain Petty.
    My heartfelt sympathy goes out to your family and loved ones.
    Robert Murray

  26. Eric Hodek says:

    My heartfelt condolences to the Petty family. I had the honor to serve with Chris on the 4ID DIVARTY staff. He was an exceptional officer, an outstanding person and a dear friend. I will miss him dearly.

  27. Dana Spears (Myers) says:

    Chris happened to be heavy on my heart today and my heart broke when I say the google results. Chris and I attend High School together – our group of friends as very close and after graduation we kind of lost touch. My most heartfelt sympathies to the Petty family. One of the articles said he just squeaked by in H.S., maybe so but Chris was a very dedicated friend. He will be greatly missed.
    Dana Myers

  28. Duncan Hyde says:

    Im so shocked to hear about Chris’s passing I just found out today from a friend Kathy Norton – I went to High School with Crhis in Jamaica @ Priory School and we hung out together i stayed at his house a couple times in Manor Park he was such cool guy and i send my condolences to your family and his parents, sounds like he was a hero – I was trying track down Chris just other day through the Priory School Website i’m so shocked right now!
    My deepest regards,
    Duncan Hyde – Kingston Jamaica
    P.S. I’ll Try and find some old photos of us hanging out in Jamaica.

  29. Marc Charley says:

    Dear Petty Family,
    I just heard the unfortunate news about Chris. We were friends in Jamaica and I spent many of days hanging out with him in his back yard and touring the island. My warmest regards to the entire family.
    Marc Charley

  30. Rich Frankel says:

    I had not seen or spoken to many of my classmates since graduating from James Madison High School in 1991 or since our reunion in 1996. I came across the news about Chris only today. What Justin and Adam have described of Chris ring true with the guy I knew as well. I remember Chris for characteristics I continue to value and admire today: sincere, humble and friendly. I can only imagine there are countless others who have been positively affected by having known him. I offer thanks to the family for his truly ultimate act of love in service and prayers for their continued comfort.

  31. Claudette Kraus says:

    Dear Petty Family,
    I saw a photo of your two youngest members at the grave site of their father on Memorial Day in the Washington Post. Words aren’t enough to express the empathy and sadness my family feels for you and yours. I come from a large military family and thankfully my dad always made it back from Korea and Vietnam. The sacrifice military families make is unmeasurable. It’s hard on children, spouses and parents. My prayers and many thanks are with your
    family and those precious little boys. I’m sorry this tragic event happened to your son.
    Claudette Kraus
    Vienna, VA

  32. Kathy Norton-DeSouza says:

    My Heart goes out to the entire Petty family. Apart from the fact that Chris and I went to school together in Jamaica (Priory), we were neighbours (sort of). My Grandmother used to live in Manor Park…so some days we would drop chris home. Even though chris was in a grade lower than me, we were friends. He was SUCH a cool guy. Everyone at school liked Chris. From what I have read, he turned out to be quite a great husband and father….not to mention a Hero. It was a honor to know him.

  33. Tim Buchanan, SFC, Retired says:

    I can’t help but think of the 5 brave souls who gave their lives for our country 2 years ago. This date is engraved in my mind and I remember those great americans. I worked with Cpt. Petty for the first several months of his command as his acting first sergeant. I enjoyed working with him later as I moved to G Company and supported his Battery with maintenance. We had a good working relationship. I remember when Mrs Petty would bring Oliver to eat lunch with his dad as the long hours of HHB kept him working late. I had joked with Cpt. Petty about being late for the BUB and getting Cpt Covert an alarm clock the same morning that he left on that fateful day. I just want you to know that you all are in my thoughts and you all are not forgotten.

  34. CW2 Ernest Curtis says:

    I served with CPT Petty during OIF 1 and OIF 4. My heart hurts everytime I think of the loss of him. To his family, my wife remembers how I spoke of CPT Petty and understands my pain and appreciates his sacrifice so that I could come home. Sir, Thank you.
    Ernie Curtis

  35. Larry Haught says:

    Chris was my FSO (Fire Support Officer). We went through Iraq together in 03. I always had his back and he had mine. When we went over again in 06, I was’nt there to watch his back. He died in a convoy en-route to my FOB and I can’t help but to feel somewhat responsible for his death because I wasn’t there to protect by brother. I think about Chris every day…and I miss him more than words will ever explain. I miss you Chris, and I will carry your memory with me every day. I’m sorry I wasn’t there for you when you needed me the most. May God have mercy on my soul. I apologize to your family here because I’m not brave enough to face them. I’m so sorry Chris, rest in peace brother…I’ll see you again soon.

  36. Deb Petty says:

    Dear Larry Haught….I am hoping you will read this soon and come in contact with me. I need to speak with you, and share with you how I feel about that day, Chris and your feelings. Please get in contact with me…
    Much love
    Deb Petty Chris’ wife

  37. Leonard Aaron Nida says:

    Every now and then I type Chris’s name in google. I guess I do this as a reminder to myself of the true cost of war. I leave lost for words as I view images of Chris with his beautiful wife and kids. Kids that he will not get to hold in this life, kids who will not remember his touch, wisdom, or memory, but only by stories and pictures, will they know their father who loved them.
    As I prepare to journey back over my prayers are for this country, our Soldiers and their families. May God grant and give the peace that truly he can only give with time.
    Aaron Nida

  38. Susan Gertson says:

    Hi Deb – this is Matt’s mom. I lost your email address – can you please contact me at Susan Gertson

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