The U.S. Army Intelligence Center of Excellence, or USAICoE, and Fort Huachuca hosted a ceremony on March 22 at the Seifert School-Age Center in remembrance of Capt. Christopher Seifert, and to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the beginning of Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Col. Roger Sangvic, commander, USAICoE and Fort Huachuca, opened the ceremony by thanking those who attended and reminiscing about the Fort Huachuca School Age Center building dedication.
“Nine years ago this May, the U.S. Army Intelligence Center and Army garrison held a ceremony at this very location, dedicating the Seifert School-Age Center in honor of Captain Seifert,” he said. “What a fitting tribute to a great Soldier, MI [Military Intelligence] officer, husband, and especially, a father.”
Originally from Williams Township, Pa., Seifert graduated from Wilson Area High School in 1993 and Moravian College in 1997. He majored in history and was a member of the Army Reserve Officers Training Corps.
He joined the Army ranks as a second lieutenant on May 31, 1997. In 2001, he reclassified from infantry to military intelligence. After he completed the Military Intelligence Captain’s Career Course here at Fort Huachuca, he was assigned to 1st Brigade, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) as the brigade assistant S2. As an intelligence officer, he was responsible for finding enemy positions, determining their strengths and weaknesses and evaluating their weapons capabilities.
In the days that led up to the movement into Iraq, Seifert spent long hours preparing maps and gathering intelligence information for the 101st Airborne Division. However, on March 23, 2003, the day before the scheduled movement, Seifert was killed in a grenade attack by fellow Soldier Sgt. Hasan Akbar. Akbar currently sits on death row at Fort Leavenworth, Kan.
Seifert was the first Military Intelligence Corps member and the first U.S. Army commissioned officer to die in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. He paid the ultimate price at the young age of 27. His wife, Teri Seifert, and his 10-year-old son, Benjamin, survive him. At the time of his death, Seifert’s son was only four months old.
The guest speaker for the ceremony, Col. Jim Botters, director, Office of the Chief of Military Intelligence, personally knew Seifert and spoke of him not just as a great Soldier, but also a great man. While expressing his memory of the months leading up to Seifert’s death, emotion welled up in Botters’ face. He recalled conversations with Seifert about becoming a father and the challenges ahead.
As he read an email from Lt. Gen. Ben Hodges, commander, NATO Allied Force Command, Izmir, Turkey, who also knew Seifert in the months before his death, Botters’ voice cracked with emotion, but his demeanor conveyed great pride.
As per his email, Hodges said, “I am very proud of the grace and courage of Teri Seifert. She is a wonderful caring woman and mother. I am sad that her son Benjamin won’t get to know his dad, a very good Soldier. Please thank the Fort Huachuca leadership for taking the time to put on the ceremony.”
Paying special tribute to Seifert and all of the Army’s fallen comrades, Sangvic and Command Sgt. Major Todd Holiday, USAICoE and Fort Huachuca, placed a memorial wreath in front of the Seifert School-Age Center as honors were rendered and Taps was played by the 62nd Army Band.
In an article from www.militarytimes.com, Hodges said, “We don’t honor him because he was killed. We honor him because he was so good and his death represents a huge loss to us.”
Seifert’s memory will continue to live on through his wife and son, and every person who walks the hallways of the Seifert School-Age Center.