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Fallen soldier remembered in Buena Park

June 10, 2011 12:00:00 AM PDT
The U.S. combat role in Iraq may be officially over, but it's still dangerous duty for American troops.

The latest deadly attack has claimed the life of a soldier from Buena Park. Army Specialist Christopher Fishbeck was on his first deployment to Iraq as part of Operation New Dawn. Fishbeck had been there since last fall and was set to leave Iraq this November. But instead of a homecoming, his family is planning a funeral.

Flowers were delivered to wife Stephanie Kidder as an expression of sympathy over the loss of her husband. The 24-year-old was one of five U.S. soldiers killed Monday when a series of rockets slammed into an American base in Baghdad.

It was one of the single deadliest attacks on U.S. forces since 2009. Fishbeck's wife says he lived his life with intensity and passion.

"He was unique," said Kidder. "He was a lot of person inside one person, there's no forgetting someone like that."

Kidder met Fishbeck in seventh grade. They dated while they were teenagers then reunited years later. They were married in Germany this past March while he was on leave from his tour of duty. Kidder says her husband was a man who knew what he wanted in life.

"He had so much potential," said Kidder. "More than most people because he knew what he had to do to get where he was going- financially, career wise and even for his own growth."

Kidder saw her husband for the last time a week and a half ago. He came home to Buena Park for a brief stay and he bought her a new car. They spent every waking moment together before he returned to duty in Iraq.

"Never a dull moment," said Kidder. "That's so true about our relationship, never a dull moment."

Friends say Fishbeck will be remembered for his giving nature and sense of humor.

"Chris, he was the class clown," said friend Jacob Barrios. "If you ask anybody from high school they remember Chris as the funny guy, always cracking jokes. Any situation we found ourselves in, Chris could take it and just flip it and turn it into something that's a good memory."

And it will be memories that Kidder will hold on to as she prays for the strength to move forward.

"I think that's what I'm going to try to do," said Kidder. "To at least make it feel like there is a reason or maybe a purpose to die," said Kidder.

A Shiite militia group in Iraq said Friday it was responsible for the deadly attack Monday that killed five U.S. troops, including Fishbeck.

The group posted a statement on its website that said it would continue to attack American forces until they withdrew from Iraq.


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