PHOENIX – Flags at all state governmentbuildings are flying at half staff in honor of a member of the Navy from Peoria who died in Afghanistan earlier this week.
Chief Petty Officer Christian Michael Pike, 31, died March 13 of injuries suffered March 10 while conducting stability operations in Maiwand District, west of Kandahar, the U.S. Defense Department announced March 14. After being injured, Mr. Pike was taken to a U.S. Army hospital in Landstuhl, Germany, where he was pronounced dead from his injuries.
Mr. Pike was assigned to a West Coast-based Naval Special Warfare unit, said Lt. Cmdr. David McKinney, a spokesman for Naval Special Warfare Command.
Gov. Jan Brewer ordered flags at government buildings lowered immediately in the hours after the Defense Department’s announcement.
“My heart breaks for the family and friends of Chief Petty Officer Christian Michael Pike,” the governor stated in a prepared release.
“I ask that all Arizonans join me in thoughtful prayer for CPO Pike, his loved ones and his fellow Navy brothers and sisters,” the statement continued. “Please keep all of Arizona’s servicemen and women in your hearts and thoughts. Their serve and sacrifice must never be taken for granted.”
Funeral arrangements were not immediately announced.
Mr. Pike joined the Navy Aug. 16, 2001, and following training was assigned to the NTTC Corry Station, then the USS Cleveland, according to a biography supplied by the Naval Special Warfare unit in California. In 2007, he moved to a Navy Information Operations Command facility in Georgia before reporting to the Special Warfare unit July 25, 2011. It could not immediately be learned how long Mr. Pike had been in Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.
Most of the 68,000 U.S. forces now in Afghanistan are scheduled to be withdrawn by the end of 2014, according to the latest timetable provided by President Barack Obama to end involvement in what is America’s longest war.