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Del Oro grad killed in action in Afghanistan

Staff Sgt. James M. Christen, Class of 2000, died Tuesday
By: Joyia Emard, Gold Country News Service
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U.S. Army Staff Sgt. James M. Christen, 29, a 2000 Del Oro High School graduate, died in Afghanistan on Tuesday, July 19, while supporting Operation Enduring Freedom, the Department of Defense announced today. According to Gold Country Media archives, as a Del Oro senior, Christen received the Army College Fund Award. Art Brown, 28, of Roseville, served with Christen in 2006 when they were both stationed with the 173rd Airborne Unit, in Italy. Brown, a 2001 Granite Bay High School graduate, said Christen was an air traffic controller at the time. “He was really a stand-up guy – an all-around good person. He was the nicest guy,” Brown said. Brown described Christen as the type of person “if you needed something, he’d give the shirt off his back.” Brown also said Christen treated lower-ranked military members with respect. “You respected him because he gave you respect. He wanted us to do well,” Brown, who now works in law enforcement, said. Brown also said Christen was a “quiet guy” who didn’t try to be the center of attention. The Department of Defense said Christen, who was married, was killed in Kunar province, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when enemy forces attacked his vehicle with an improvised explosive device. Christen was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 27th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, Schofield Barracks, Hawaii. This was Christen’s third deployment overseas. He previously served two tours in Iraq. Christen’s awards and decorations include the Bronze Star Medal, Purple Heart (both posthumous), Army Commendation Medal, Army Achievement Medal, Army Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Afghanistan Campaign Medal with Star, Iraq Campaign with Star, Global War on Terrorism Medal, Army Service Medal, Noncommissioned Officer Profession Development Ribbon, Army Service Ribbon, Overseas Service Ribbon, NATO Medal, Combat Infantryman Badge and the Parachutist Badge. Fuzzy Jarnigan, commander of American Legion Post 775, in Loomis, said he was “extremely proud” of Christen for the patriotism he displayed in serving his country and the commitment he made. Sgt. Jacob Molina, 27, of Houston, Texas, was also killed in the attack. Reach Joyia Emard at joyiae@goldcountrymedia.com