Two days after Army Staff Sgt. James M. Christen’s death in Afghanistan this summer, his family and friends created a memorial page on Facebook.
They shared photos and memories of Christen, 29, from the Placer County town of Loomis, northeast of Sacramento, as well of words of encouragement to his wife, Lauren, to whom he was married for eight years.
“I will forever be proud of my husband for all [he] did and will miss him every second of everyday,” his wife wrote on the website.
“James was the definition of Patriot,” wrote another commenter, Jade Salazar, who said she was a longtime friend of Lauren. “He had such a strong conviction for protecting the nation. He was smart. He was absolutely hilarious. He was in Love… He was a soldier. I know that I am not alone when I say, I love you James. And I will truly miss you forever. HOOAH.”
Christen had previously served two tours in Iraq. He was on his third deployment, this time in Afghanistan, when a roadside bomb exploded near his vehicle July 19 in eastern Kunar province, on the Pakistani border. Military officials said Christen died of his wounds. Also killed was Army Sgt. Jacob Molina, 27, of Houston.
Both men were assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 27th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division at Schofield Barracks, Hawaii.
Christen attended Del Oro High School in Loomis, where as a senior he received the Army College Fund Award, according to the local newspaper, the Loomis News. Christen graduated in 2000 and enlisted in the Army as an infantryman, the Pentagon said.
Christen was buried in August at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Va., according to online postings by his loved ones.
“I love and miss my son,” his mother, Gwen Murray, wrote on The Times’ California War Dead database, which collects stories about the state’s service members who have died during the conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq. “He was a great son and his family will miss him greatly.”