Updated: October 24, 2011 at 12:00 am
A Colorado Springs Army Ranger killed over the weekend was remembered Monday as an avid outdoorsman who followed his father’s footsteps to the Army and, ultimately, into Afghanistan.
“He was just a good, honest kid,” said Martha Horns, the soldier’s aunt. “It’s hard for us to understand this whole thing.”
Pfc. Christopher Horns, 20, died Saturday when insurgents attacked his unit in Kandahar, Afghanistan, with an improvised bomb, according to the Department of Defense.
Two other soldiers, Sgt. 1st Class Kristoffer Domeij, 29, of San Diego, and 1st Lt. Ashley White, 24, a North Carolina National Guardsman from Alliance, Ohio, also were killed in the attack. Details of the attack have not been released.
Domeij, whose mother lives in Colorado Springs, served with Horns in the 2nd Battalion of the 75th Ranger Regiment at Joint Base Lewis-McChord outside of Tacoma, Wash.
Christopher Horns’ assignment to the 75th Ranger Regiment was the realization of a long-held dream, his family said.
The career seemed to be a natural fit. His father, Larry Horns, served nearly 30 years in the
Army and the family spent a few years in Colorado Springs. Larry Horns served a tour in Afghanistan near the beginning of the war.
Whenever he visited relatives, all Christopher Horns gushed about was jumping out of planes or popping targets at the shooting range.
“He never talked about girls, he never talked about cars — he talked about the Army,” Martha Horns said. “I’d never seen such pride as I did in his voice when he talked about serving his country.”
His uncle, Martin Horns, said his nephew had trained for boot camp months before he shipped out and lost about 40 pounds in the process. He qualified for Ranger school right out of boot camp, he said.
“There’s a high dropout rate but he made it through and he was so proud to be a Ranger,” Martin Horns said.
He was also a fun-loving kid, he said. Once, to demonstrate his strength, Christopher Horns picked up his uncle and ran up a trail with railroad ties.
“We were going up that hill. I was 220 pounds and he carried me up those steps,” Martin Horns laughed.
Christopher Horns loved Colorado Springs and wanted to call it home.
He drove to the foothills of Pikes Peak to ride his dirt bike or hike, Martha Horns said. And he proposed to his girlfriend — an engagement so recent that he had yet to introduce his fiancé to his family.
“He just fit in,” said his grandmother, Barbara Horns. “He was not shy, he was not boisterous. He loved life.”
His family plans to hold a memorial service in Iowa, where many of his relatives live. When that service draws to a close, his ashes will be flown to Colorado Springs and spread in the nearby mountains.
“He’s in heaven,” Martha Horns said. “And we’re very proud of what he’s done for us.”
Gazette reporter Maria St. Louis-Sanchez contributed to this story.