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Christopher J. Van Der Horn
Service  Army (SSGT)
Date Of Birth  June 14, 1968
KIA  January 3, 2006 (Iraq)
Cemetery  Tahoma National Cemetery
City & State  Kent, WA

Eastside solider killed in Iraq 2006-01-03
by Dean A. Radford Journal Reporter

Born on Flag Day in 1968, 37-year-old Christopher J. Van Der Horn, who grew up in Beaux Arts Village, died Sunday serving his country in Iraq.

The Army staff sergeant was killed when a roadside bomb exploded near his Humvee in As Sinia, while he was on patrol, according to the U.S. Department of Defense.

His parents, Robert and Karen Van Der Horn of Beaux Arts Village, learned of his death from an Army chaplain and a sergeant who came to their home.

``He had a ready heart for God and his family and his friends and his country,'' his mother said on Monday.

His family always flew an American Flag on his birthday, she said.

Handsome and talkative, his presence was always felt in a room, she said. A singer, he had the lead in a junior high production of ``Grease,'' but his mother said he got ``a little restless'' in high school, eventually earning a GED.

His wife, Teresa, and their sons, Max, 5, and Liam, 4 months, live on the Fort Campbell Army base in Kentucky where he was stationed.

Nancy Van Der Horn said her son first joined the service in his early 20s and served for 7 1, 2 years in Hawaii and Italy. He saw combat in Bosnia and in Sierra Leone in Africa.

With little chance at the time for advancement in the Army, his mother said, he left the service and returned to Washington. He and his wife lived in north Tacoma and he was a reserve officer in the Milton and Ruston police departments, she said. He was a court officer in Fife and served in the Army Reserves.

In 2004, he and Teresa decided he should re-enlist in the Army when the United States was deep in the war in Iraq, according to his mother.

His parents last spoke to him on Christmas Day. Because of the Iraqi elections, he was getting some rest, his mother said.

Van Der Horn was assigned to the Army's 1st Battalion, 187th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division.

Two other soldiers with the 101st Airborne Division died on Friday, according to the Army.

The Army said 35 troops from Fort Campbell have been killed since the 101st Airborne returned to Iraq for a second yearlong tour starting in September. More than 90 soldiers based at Fort Campbell have died in Iraq since the war began in March 2003.

A memorial service is planned for later at the family's First Presbyterian Church of Bellevue. Per his wishes, according to his mother, Van Der Horn will be buried at Tahoma National Cemetery in Maple Valley. A fund is being set up to help pay for his sons' college education.
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