Schofield soldier was killed by sniper
By William Cole
Advertiser Military Writer
By William Cole
A Schofield Barracks soldier who was killed in Iraq last week was standing in the gunner's hatch of an armored vehicle when he was felled by a gunshot, Army officials said.
Pfc. Christopher W. Lotter, 20, was a gunner on a Mine Resistant Ambush Protected vehicle, or MRAP, during a patrol to the water department in Tikrit on Dec. 30, said Maj. Cathy Wilkinson, the public affairs officer for Schofield's 3rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team at Contingency Operating Base Speicher in Tikrit.
Other soldiers had left their vehicles and gone into the water department to talk to the director about upgrading the water plant at the Khadasia General Hospital.
Lotter was shot while helping secure the area, Wilkinson said. He was taken to a military hospital before being evacuated to the trauma center at Joint Base Balad, where he died of his wounds Dec. 31, Wilkinson said by e-mail.
MRAPs were shipped to Iraq in response to roadside bombs. They are tall and have a "V"-shaped bottom that deflects a blast. The gunner's rotating turret has side armor plating, but often is open on top.
Nearly 9,000 of the vehicles are now in Iraq and are used along with smaller armored Humvees to transport troops.
Lotter was from Pennsylvania and had been in the Army just one year.
During a memorial service in Iraq, Capt. Jeff Rhodes, Lotter's company commander in Alpha Battery, 3rd Battalion, 7th Field Artillery Regiment, said the last act of Lotter's life was to help the people of Khadasia to have fresh, clean drinking water.
To honor his sacrifice, the soldiers in his company will ensure the water treatment project gets completed, she said. More than 400 people attended a combat memorial service for Lotter.
Lotter enlisted in the U.S. Army in January 2008 and was trained as a cannon crew member at Fort Sill, Okla., Wilkinson said.
Lotter was one of more than 4,500 Schofield soldiers with the 25th Infantry Division's headquarters and 3rd Brigade to deploy to northern Iraq in October and November.
"Pfc. Lotter is the first soldier who was killed from our brigade," Wilkinson said. "There have been tremendous improvements in security here but there is still an enemy trying to stop progress."
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