Anderson County Soldier Killed While Serving in Operation Enduring Freedom
NASHVILLE – Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam and Department of Veterans Affairs Commissioner Many-Bears Grinder regretfully announce the loss of Tennessee soldier Staff Sergeant Christopher Michael Ward of Oak Ridge.
Ward was fatally injured when his patrol was struck by a vehicle borne improvised explosive device (VBIED) which detonated on Saturday, April 6 in Kandahar, Afghanistan. Staff Sergeant Ward was serving with Troop A, 5th Squadron, 7th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Armor Brigade Combat Team, Fort Stewart, Georgia.
The 24-year old soldier grew up in Arcadia, Florida. However, Ward moved to Tennessee with his mother, Joyce Ward, and attended Oak Ridge High School before earning his General Educational Development (GED) diploma and enlisting in the United States Army in November 2006.
“We join the Ward family in a time of mourning, and we humbly recognize the ultimate sacrifice made by Staff Sergeant Christopher Ward,” Haslam said. “On behalf of the State of Tennessee we offer our sincerest condolences and heartfelt sympathy to Christopher’s family and friends.”
“This is a grave reminder that Tennesseans along with several other Americans continue to serve our country in harm’s way in countries such as Afghanistan,” Grinder said. “We are saddened by the loss of Staff Sergeant Ward and we hope the Ward family feels the support of the entire state as they grieve the loss of their loved one.”
Ward is survived by his mother Joyce Ward of Oak Ridge and brothers Matthew Ward of Oak Ridge and Travis Ward of Tulsa, Oklahoma.
“Chris was proud to be an American and loved serving his country and fellow Americans,” Joyce Ward said. “We are going to miss his beautiful smile, green eyes and fearless attitude.”
The remains of SSG Ward are expected to arrive at 9:20 a.m. (EDT) on Friday, April 12 at McGhee Tyson Air National Guard Base. Media is permitted to cover the arrival, but the family requests privacy and will not grant interviews. Please contact Captain Joseph Keith at 865-742-7638 for clearance into base prior to arrival. Please arrive no later than 8:50 a.m. to allow for security screening. A base representative will escort all media to the aircraft arrival location at 9:00 a.m.
Visitation will be from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. (EDT) on Saturday, April 13 at Weatherford Mortuary, 158 South Jefferson Circle in Oak Ridge. The funeral services will begin immediately after the visitation. Media is not permitted inside the funeral home and the family requests media not interview family members as they arrive and leave the services.
Ward will posthumously receive the Tennessee Fallen Heroes Medal during the funeral services.
Ward will also posthumously receive the Bronze Star Medal, the Purple Heart and had already received several Army Commendation Medals, Army Achievement Medal, Afghanistan Campaign Medal with Bronze Service Star, the Iraq Campaign Medal with three Bronze Service Stars and several other service-related awards.