View Full Version : The ultimate sacrifice

11-08-06, 06:31 AM
The ultimate sacrifice

Honoring a Navy hero from Absarokee
By The Standard Staff - 11/08/2006

Charles V. “Chuck” Komppa made Absarokee a better place in the three short years that he and his young family lived here in the foothills of the Beartooth Mountains that he loved. Strong in commitment to faith, family, friends and work, Chuck Komppa, 35, died half a world away from home, doing what he always did: helping others.

Petty Officer 2nd Class Komppa was driving a Humvee on Oct. 25 in Iraq’s Anbar Province when a roadside bomb detonated, killing him and four U.S. Marines in the vehicle. Chuck Komppa, a skilled electrician at the Stillwater Mine, was with the Marines to do electrical work to improve their living conditions, according to fellow Naval reservists from his Billings-based unit.

“The Marines are in a pretty hot area, and since their living conditions were shoddy to say the least, Chuck took a sense of pride and accomplishment in helping the Marines out,” said Rick Starks, a Montana Highway Patrol trooper from Billings who is serving in Iraq in Chuck Komppa’s unit.

‘A real sense of duty’ Marine Sgt. Thomas M. Gilbert of Downers Grove, Ill.; Lance Cpl. Jonathan B. Thornsberry of McDowell, Ky.; Pfc. Donald S. Brown of Succasunna, N.J.; and Pfc. Daniel B. Chaires of Tallahassee, Fla., also died Oct. 25 “from wounds while conducting combat operations,” according to information compiled by the Associated Press.

Brown, 19, and Chaires, 20, were active-duty Marines from the 2nd Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment, 3rd Marine Division, III Marine Expeditionary Force based at Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii.

Gilbert, 24, and Thornsberry, 22, were in the Marine Reserves from units based in Michigan and Tennessee, respectively.

A Navy veteran, Chuck Komppa enlisted in the reserves and then re-enlisted, knowing that his unit in the 3rd Naval Construction Regiment would be deployed to Iraq in September. Delisa Komppa said her husband “felt it was something he needed to do” when he re-enlisted in June.

“He had a real sense of duty, a real call to serve,” said Allen Solheim, pastor of Absarokee Evangelical Church who knew Chuck Komppa as a devoted church member and volunteer.

Tradition of honor The sense of duty, honor and courage demonstrated by Chuck Komppa was in the finest tradition of the U.S. military, a tradition that is strong in Montana. Tragically, it is often the best among us who give the most, even their lives, in war.

Americans must never forget these personal sacrifices of soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines — the five who died together on Oct. 25 and the 2,800 others killed in Iraq in the past three years and seven months of war. Let the people of our state and region share deepest sympathy with Chuck Komppa’s wife, Delisa, their children, Alicia and Gary, his mother, Margaret Martin of Fishtail, and his father, Gary Komppa of Ingram, Texas.

Let us honor the heroism of a good man, a brave sailor, a great American.

— The Billings Gazette