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The author's friend, "Doc" Katzenberger.

Today is My Fallen Friend’s Anniversary; I Remember Him All Year

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by Heath Hansen

More than a million Americans have died fighting for this country since it was founded two-and-a-half centuries ago. We honor their sacrifices every year on Memorial Day, but also throughout the year, especially on the anniversaries of when they were lost. Today, as I look at the date on my K-I-A bracelet, I’m brought back to that moment, in Afghanistan, that I heard about the passing of my friend.

Specialist Christopher “Doc Katz” Katzenberger was killed in action 17 years ago today, after an improvised explosive device struck his vehicle in Ghazni, Afghanistan. The date was August 9, 2005. He only was in-country a short time before the IED took his life. In those few months, he made his mark. After missions, Doc Katz would check on each paratrooper in his platoon, going into each squad tent to ensure everyone was healthy after their duty. He cared about local people, and asked his family to send pencils for school children.

A toast to “Doc Katz.” Photos courtesy John Lambert.

“Doc Katz” served with C Company, 2nd Battalion, 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 82nd Airborne Division.

This past Memorial Day, members of Charlie company gathered to pay respects to their fallen brother, upholding the warrior ethos to “never leave a fallen comrade.” This is a tradition that has been carried out by members of Katz’ unit for nearly a decade now. They remember their brother throughout the year.

Hansen and members of Charlie Company

Doc Katz is interred at the Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery, in St. Louis, Missouri.

Devil Medic – Gone But Not Forgotten. He is why I still wear my bracelet to this day. This is why others wear bracelets for those they remember. Say. Their. Names…

SOF Correspondent Heath Hansen wears a commemorative bracelet for his friend.

Heath Hansen is SOF’s Paramilitary Correspondent.

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