Spc. Christopher Gathercole, age 21, was assigned to 2nd Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash. He was born on Oct. 16, 1986.

He was killed on May 26, 2008, near Ghazni, Afghanistan while conducting combat operations.

After graduating from Rincon High School in Carpinteria, Calif., Gathercole enlisted in the Army from his hometown of Santa Rosa, Calif., in October 2005 and completed One Station Unit Training at Fort Benning as an infantryman. After graduating from the Basic Airborne Course there, he was assigned to the Ranger Indoctrination Program also at Fort Benning.

He graduated from the Ranger Indoctrination Program in May 2006 and was then assigned to 2nd Bn., 75th Ranger Regiment in June 2006. He was a lightweight machine (MK46) gunner.

Gathercole’s awards and decorations include the Ranger Tab, the National Defense Service Medal, Army Service Ribbon, Combat Infantryman Badge and Parachutist Badge.

He was posthumously awarded the Bronze Star with Valor, Purple Heart, Meritorious Service Medal and the Army Good Conduct Medal.

Gathercole is survived by his brother Edward F. Gathercole, sister Jennifer Daly and father Edward R. Gathercole both of Santa Rosa and his mother Catherine Ferrell of Fairfield, Calif.