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Patriotic Article

By Army Spc. Daniel Stoutamire

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Fallen 'Dagger' Soldier Remembered
(July 3, 2010)

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June 30, 2010 -- Family members and comrades in arms gathered for a memorial ceremony at Morris Hill Chapel on Fort Riley June 29 to mourn the passing and honor the life of Spc. Christopher Michael Mutton, Co. F, 1st Battalion, 18th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Heavy Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division.

Mutton, a native of Goldendale, Wash., died June 23 from injuries sustained in a Humvee rollover accident while conducting training on Fort Riley. An investigation into the accident is ongoing.

Mutton was remembered as being an exceptionally selfless and enthusiastic individual by both his commanders and peers.

“I've learned from his parents and battle buddies that Chris was the epitome of selfless service,” said Lt. Col. John Cross, commander, 1st Bn., 18th Inf. Regt. “He was always more concerned about the welfare of others, and looking after those who needed his help.”

Mutton entered the Army in August 2008 and arrived at Fort Riley in September 2009 after completing Basic Combat Training at Fort Jackson, S.C., and Advanced Individual Training at Fort Knox, Ky.

“The first time I met Chris, he was a nervous private straight out of AIT, where I'm sure none of his peers was higher-ranking than private first class,” said Cpl. Casey Patrick, who gave the soldier tribute at the memorial service.

“I had a great expectation and respect for Chris, because of his attitude and work ethic,” Patrick said. “You never had to tell him more than once to do something, and he would never give up on anything.”

During his time in the Army, Mutton attended the Combat Lifesaver Course, and was awarded several awards and decorations, including the Army Commendation Medal, the National Defense Service Medal, the Iraqi Campaign Medal, the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, the Army Service Ribbon, and the Overseas Service Ribbon.

In addition to being a selfless and hardworking soldier, Mutton was remembered as someone who never shied away from danger.

“Whether he was driving, gunning, or serving as a truck commander, Spc. Mutton was always there, ready to serve,” Cross said.

Patrick agreed, and like Cross, praised Mutton's willingness to put himself in harm's way to accomplish the mission.

“He was always the first to volunteer to go where the action was,” he said, though he jokingly added that after returning from such dangerous missions, Mutton would sometimes “strut around like Alexander the Great back from dominating a Middle Eastern empire.”

Mutton set an example by his attitude and actions, said Patrick.

“He was a soldier that had the mentality all Americans should have,” he said. “He didn't just do his job because he was told to, he did it for his family and he did it for his country.”

Mutton is survived by his father Micheal Mutton, stepmother Debbie Mutton, mother Zenda O'Shea, stepfather James O'Shea, and step-sister Ashley Smith.

Many members of his family were in attendance at the ceremony, and were recognized for their role in raising Christopher into the person he became.

“I know Chris' selflessness and concern for others are traits he received from your examples,” Cross said to Mutton's assembled friends and family.

As the battalion moves forward with its training for its next deployment, it is important to maintain Mutton's memory as an inspiration, both Cross and Patrick urged.

“We must depart here today resolved to honor the life of Spc. Mutton,” said Cross. “We will do this by dedicating ourselves to the example of selfless service he demonstrated, and renewing our dedication to the standards and discipline synonymous with Falcon Company and Vanguard Nation.”

Patrick said a final farewell to his fallen friend, using the motto of the Vanguard Battalion.

“We are going to miss you, Spc. Mutton, and you will always be in our memory,” he said solemnly. “To the last round!”
By Army Spc. Daniel Stoutamire
2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division Public Affairs
Copyright 2010

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