Valley sailor dies after serving in Afghanistan

Valley sailor dies after serving in Afghanistan

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Chief Petty Officer Christian Pike Chief Petty Officer Christian Pike

A valley sailor was killed in the line of duty while serving in Afghanistan and his death is really hitting the FOX 10 family.

31-year-old Christian Pike is the son of one our co-workers.  She flew to Germany on Sunday after learning he had been wounded.

The Chief Petty Officer was shot on Saturday during combat in the Maiwand District, which is west of Kandahar.

He was conducting stability operations as part of Operation Enduring Freedom.

His aunt, Denise Graham, tells us that he loved serving his country, his job and the men he served with.  She says that he believed in what he was doing.

"Just his spirit.  He was fun, I mean he was just fun and happy.  He was happy all the time and he made people around him happy and joyous," she said.

From his baby photos to his Peoria High School senior portrait, even his official Navy photo, Christian seemed to always wear a smile.

Graham says she never even saw her nephew get angry.  She described him as compassionate and positive.  So positive that he even enjoyed Navy training.

"When he got to boot camp, he was so excited. He loved boot camp and he called his mom -- said 'mom this is so fun and they have the best food here'," said Graham.

He took that enthusiasm to combat and he served his country for over a decade.

"He was committed and dedicated and he really thought service of his country was something he needed to do," said Graham.

Pike was supposed to return home next month, but was pronounced dead Thursday morning in a hospital in Landstuhl, Germany.

"He believed in living life to the fullest and doing what he wanted to do every day and he did," said Graham.  "He would not have been happy settling for something that he wasn't completely committed to."

He passed away with his mother, sister and his best friend at his side.

His organs were donated, so he will continue to make a difference in this world for others.

Pike's body will be taken to Dover Air Force Base in Delaware on Saturday.  His family will be waiting for him there.

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