U.S. Army Specialist Christopher G. Stark, 22, who graduated from Monett High School in 2007, was killed on Feb. 28 in Wardak Province in central Afghanistan.
Stark was assigned to 705th Explosive Ordnance Disposal Company based at Fort Polk, La. He died during an improvised explosive device attack while on a dismounted patrol in the Tangi area. Stark was working out of Combat Outpost Tangi in support of 2nd Battalion, 4th Infantry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division, while deployed in Afghanistan.
Stark was killed along with Staff Sergeant Chauncy Mays, 25, of Cookville, Texas. Both soldiers were assigned to the 63rd Explosive Ordnance Disposal Battalion, 20th Support Command, based at the Aberdeen Proving Ground, Md.
Christopher Stark was a member of the Junior ROTC program at the Southwest Area Career Center in Monett. He is the son of Teresa Stark and the late Jeff Stark. Teresa Stark worked for 15 years as an administrator for the Monett R-1 School District, leaving in 2009 to take the position of director of the Nevada Regional Technical Center.
During the 10 a.m. session of the Missouri House of Representatives on March 3, 68th District State Representative David Sater requested and received a moment of silence from his fellow lawmakers in Stark's honor.
Both the Hobbs-Anderson American Legion Post #91 and the Tom Wolfe Memorial Post #4207, Veterans of Foreign Wars, lowered their flags to half-staff in honor of Stark. The Monett School District lowered flags at the Southwest Area Career Center and at Monett High School.
Stark's body was flown to the military base in Dover, Del., on March 4. The body will be brought to Monett, where visitation will be held from 6 to 8 p.m. on Friday at Buchanan Funeral Home.
The funeral service will be held at 11 a.m. on Saturday at Jolly Mill Park. Burial will be in the Monett IOOF Cemetery.
According to a story prepared by the Defense Video and Imagery Distribution System, several soldiers said Stark was an outstanding team member and a great EOD technician. Stark's comrades said he was always willing to help others and made everything he did fun for himself and for those around him.
"Spc. Stark served as my EOD team member," said U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Joseph Czikalla, of Clive, Iowa. "His input and enthusiasm was crucial to the successful completion of numerous missions. He loved being an EOD technician. There was never a day that Chris didn't live life to the fullest. He experienced more in his 22 years than many do in a lifetime."
Stark's awards and decorations include the Bronze Star Medal, Purple Heart, Army Achievement Medal, Army Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Afghan Campaign Medal with star device, Global War on Terror Service Medal, NATO Medal, Army Service Ribbon, Overseas Service Ribbon, Combat Action Badge and Explosive Ordnance Disposal Basic Badge.