Army SSG
Brighton, MI
Operation Iraqi Freedom
Memorial Location: 

Brighton Hills Cemetery
Flint Road
Brighton, MI

Killed during an enemy mortar attack in Baquba, Iraq. Assigned to the 652nd Engineer Battalion, Army Reserve, Ellsworth, WI.

SSG Thomas W. Christensen was born February 25, 1961, in Livonia, Michigan, to Tom and Janet Christensen. In 1968 the family moved to Brighton, Michigan where Thomas grew up and attended school. He was a voracious reader with rich intelligence and scientific curiosities. Reading at the 11th grade level by the 4th grade, he read everything he could, from classics to hard sciences, to technical magazines and manuals. He would discuss science and engineering intrigues with anyone willing to trade ideas with him.

Thomas enlisted in the Army in 1983, and went through extensive training at the Redstone Arsenal in Alabama. He also attended jump school at Fort Bragg, North Carolina earning his parachute (jump) wings. Upon completion of his training he was transferred to Germany where he served as a technician on the Hawk and Patriot Missile Control Systems. He would serve a second tour in Germany and would be assigned to temporary duty in NATO countries and wherever expert assistance was required.

In 1994, Thomas was honorable discharged from the Army and returned home where he joined the Army Reserve. He was assigned to the 88th Readiness Command and would continue his education. A skilled builder and woodworker, he attended the Army Carpentry School in North Dakota. During this time Thomas moved to Atlantic Mine in Michigan’s upper peninsula and supported himself on his carpentry and mechanical skills. Thomas had a love of the out of doors and enjoyed hunting and fishing and the many lakes, streams and forests of Michigan’s upper peninsula.

On February 13, 2003, SSG Christensen’s reserve unit, the 652nd Engineering Company, Fort McCoy, Wisconsin, was activated for duty to Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. In March 2003, the unit deployed to Kuwait and then on into Baquba, Iraq. On Christmas night, 2003, the base came under mortar attack with some of the mortars hitting the living quarters. Staff Sergeant Thomas W. Christensen and Staff Sergeant Stephen C. Hattamer, also from Michigan, were killed during the attack. The Army Reserve Center, located in Harvey, Michigan, near Marquette, was dedicated in their honor on August 11, 2007.

SSG Christensen’s awards and decorations include Parachute Wings, Combat Action Badge, Bronze Star Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster, Purple Heart Medal, Meritorious Service Medal, Army Commendation Medal, Army Achievement Medal, Army Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Medal, Iraqi Campaign Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Overseas Ribbon with #2, Army Service Ribbon and NCO Professional Education Ribbon with #2.


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