Operation Iraqi Freedom, Fallen Heroes, Iraq War 03/19/03

Christopher S Fowlkes

Gaffney, South Carolina

September 10, 2009

Age Military Rank Unit/Location
20 Marine L/Cpl

2nd Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion, 2nd Marine Division, II Marine Expeditionary Force, Marine Corps Base 

Camp Lejeune, North Carolina

 Died from wounds sustained Sept. 3 while supporting combat operations in Helmand province, Afghanistan.

From The Express Times Obituary lehighvalleylive.com 09/26/09:

Lance Cpl. Christopher S. Fowlkes, 20, was critically injured in Afghanistan on September 3, 2009. He and four other Marines were in a vehicle that was fired on by enemy troops. The five left the vehicle to return fire when one stepped on an IED. Two of the Marines were killed instantly. Christopher was transferred to a military hospital in Germany where he died on September 10 from injuries he sustained in Helmand Province, Afghanistan. This brave Marine became the first resident of Cherokee County South Carolina to die in a wartime battle since Vietnam. He was the recipient of the Purple Heart, Enduring Freedom, Afghanistan Campaign, Iraq Campaign, Global War on Terrorism Service, National Defense Service, Good Conduct, Armed Forces Reserve and SMCR medals, in addition to Combat Action and Sea Service Deployment ribbons. Survivors: parents, Mr. & Mrs. Steven Fowlkes; grandparents, John G. and Ruth Ann Parsons Fowlkes of Gaffney, South Carolina; uncle, Mike Fowlkes and wife Missy of Gaffney; aunt, Susan Witherel and her husband Brian of Fort Mill. JG and Ruth Ann were raised in Pen Argyl and graduated from Pen Argyl high School in 1955. 

From WYFF 4 TV wyff4.com 09/15/09:

Fallen Marine's Body Returns To Upstate
Body Of Lance Cpl. Christopher S. Fowlkes Arrives Wednesday

POSTED: 1:39 pm EDT September 15, 2009
UPDATED: 12:38 am EDT September 17, 2009

GAFFNEY, S.C. -- The body of a 20-year-old Marine killed while serving in Afghanistan returned at the Greenville Spartanburg International Airport Wednesday at about 3:30 p.m.

Lance Cpl. Christopher S. Fowlkes died Sept. 10 at a military hospital in Germany, where he had been treated for injuries from an explosion earlier in the week in Helmand province.

Fowlkes was assigned to 2nd Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion, 2nd Marine Division, II Marine Expeditionary Force, Marine Corps Base in Camp Lejeune, N.C. He is Cherokee County's first member of the military to be killed in action since the Vietnam War.

Fowlkes body was flown to GSP aboard a small charter jet. Members of the military, the Patriot Guard and Fowlkes' family met the plane at the airport, and then began a procession to a funeral home in Gaffney.

Hundreds lined the streets through downtown Gaffney as a living memorial. People from the community comforted each other as Fowlkes' body made the journey home.

"It's important for my children to witness this, because I want them to start developing patriotism at a young age," Rosalind Bright said. "I feel that's important. I want them to understand the sacrifice this young man made for them, for our country, and I want them to understand the honor as well as the horror of war."

The sidewalks were also filled with veterans who never knew Fowlkes, but they honored him because they fought for the same cause.

"Anybody who would give their life for God and their country, you know, they need the greatest respect, and that's the way I feel," said veteran Maxie Nix.

Corporal J.W. Owensby, came out Wednesday to say goodbye to his friend. He said Fowlkes helped him make the decision to join the Marines.

"He told me, you know, this country was good to him," Owensby said. "It allows us to live free, and he wants to give back to the fellow Americans that gave their lives serving this country. He wanted to return that favor to them by being a United States Marine."

Owensby's father was also a Marine.

"It hurts my heart," said retired Sgt. James W. Owensby Sr. "I'm an old Marine and I'm saddened, but I'm happy to be an American."

The sheriff said Fowlkes' family will receive friends Thursday at 6 p.m. at Blakely Funeral Home in Gaffney. Memorial services will be held Friday at 4 p.m. He'll be buried at Frederick Memorial Gardens Cemetery.

Cherokee County has declared that Friday, Sept. 18, will be Lance Cpl. Christopher S. Fowlkes Day. The county is asking all citizens to observe a moment of silence at 2 p.m. Friday. The county also asks for flags to be flown at half staff all day Friday.

Fowlkes' name will be etched on a memorial in downtown Gaffney, which has recorded each military death for the county since World War I.

Gaffney Marine dies from Afghanistan injuries

The Associated Press

COLUMBIA — A 20-year-old Marine from South Carolina has been killed while serving in Afghanistan.

The Department of Defense said Friday that Lance Cpl. Christopher S. Fowlkes died Thursday.

WYFF-TV reports that Fowlkes died at a military hospital in Germany, where he had been recuperating from injuries from an explosion earlier in the week. Family friend LeighAnn Turner told the station Fowlkes' parents had flown to Germany after their son was injured Sept. 3 in Helmand province.

Fowlkes was from Gaffney. He was assigned to 2nd Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion, 2nd Marine Division, II Marine Expeditionary Force, Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, N.C.

Turner said Fowlkes was a graduate of Gaffney High School.

Wanted to send friend off to boot camp

The Associated Press

Christopher Fowlkes had just returned from a tour of duty in Iraq, but it wasn’t too much to drive six hours so he could send off his buddy to Marine boot camp.

“His heart was just huge,” said friend Cameron Snuggs. “He was my brother.”

Snuggs said Fowlkes always wore his uniform with pride — whether it was a Little League jersey, his Gaffney Indians high school uniform, Marine dress blues or camouflage.

“No one wore that Gaffney High School uniform like Chris did,” Snuggs said.

Fowlkes, 20, of Gaffney, S.C., died Sept. 10 at a U.S. military hospital in Germany. He had been seriously wounded a week earlier in Helmand province, Afghanistan, when an improvised explosive detonated. He was assigned to Camp Lejeune, N.C.

The Rev. David Kite eulogized Fowlkes at his funeral.

“He gave laughter in situations that were really difficult to find humor,” Kite said.

“He gave friendship to those who needed a friend.”

Jessica LeMaster, who attended high school with Fowlkes, said it was clear in high school that he wanted to be a Marine. The two shared a love for University of Tennessee sports — and LeMaster said she had borrowed a pair of basketball shorts from him some time ago.

Now, she’ll keep them as something by which to remember him.

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