Friday, October 27, 2006

OBT: Good kid, sad day . . .

ITM grad dies in Iraq
By Alison Beshur, The Daily Times, Published October 27, 2006

Charles Victor “Chuck” Komppa, a 1990 graduate of Ingram Tom Moore High School, died Wednesday in Iraq. He was 35.

Komppa, a U.S. Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class, was traveling Wednesday with a U.S. Marine convoy, when a roadside bomb exploded, killing him and four U.S. Marines in Al Anbar province of Iraq.

Reporting the deaths, the Associated Press described Al Anbar as a hotbed of the Sunni insurgency against U.S. troops and their Iraqi government allies.

The deaths of Komppa and the four U.S. Marines increased this month’s death toll to 96 American forces, the highest monthly total since October 2005. Before that, the deadliest months were January 2005, at 107; November 2004 at 137 and April 2004, at 135, according to the AP.

Komppa had served as a reservist in Montana for three years, before he was called to active duty in June. He was assigned to the 3rd Naval Construction Regiment, according to the U.S. Department of Defense statement.

Komppa also served from 1990 to 1995 at a U.S. Navy training center in Great Lakes, Ill., and on the USS Camden, a fast combat support ship.

Steven Komppa, Charles’ younger brother, said his family wasn’t happy, but supported Charles’ decision to rejoin as a Navy reservist.

“He felt very strongly about it, so we supported him,” said Steven Komppa, 32. “We’re supportive now, even though this tragic accident occurred.”

Charles Komppa leaves behind his wife, Lisa Dewey, also an ITM graduate, and their children, Alicia, 14 and son, Gary, 11.

Steven Komppa said he spoke with his older brother about five days before he died.

“We just chit-chatted,” said the younger Komppa, who last saw his brother at Christmas. “He asked how the kids were. Basically, he was checking on me.”

Steven Komppa said his brother was quiet and serious and never wanted to burden anyone else with his concerns.

He said his fondest memory is the 1989-90 school year, when he was a sophomore and Charles was a senior in high school. That year, the two brothers earned silver medals in a state three-mile cross country meet.

“That was our best year,” Steven Komppa said. “We were as thick as thieves. We did everything together that year.”

Ingram Superintendent Bruce Faust was head football coach when the Komppa boys attended the high school.

Faust said he remembers Komppa’s determination. Komppa would play football on Friday night and then get up the next morning to run cross country. Charles Komppa never complained, Faust said.

“He was one of those youngsters who didn’t have a lot of natural ability, but everything he did was because of good, hard work,” Faust said. “He would do anything you asked him to do.”

Charles Komppa also is survived by his mother, Margaret Martin of Montana; father, Gary Komppa of Ingram; sister, Senia Carlson of Ingram; brother, Steven Komppa of Colorado City; grandparents, Charles and Helen Bradshaw of Sebeka, Minn.; nieces and nephews, Gaige Carlson and McKinna and Steven Komppa.

His funeral service will be held in Montana, and is pending. Memorial cards for the family can be sent to Steven Komppa at 1404 Waco in Colorado City, Texas, 79512.

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