The Department of Defense announced today the deaths of two soldiers who were supporting Operation Enduring Freedom. They died Feb. 28, in Wardak province, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when enemy forces attacked their unit with an improvised explosive device.
Staff Sgt. Chauncy R. Mays, 25, of Cookville, Texas.
Spc. Christopher G. Stark, 22, of Monett, Mo.
They were assigned to the 63rd Explosive Ordnance Disposal Battalion, 20th Support Command, Aberdeen Proving Ground, Md.
"He which hath no stomach to this fight let him depart. But we in it shall be remembered. We few, we happy few, we band of brothers!! For he today, that sheds his blood with me, shall always be my brother.” (W.Shakespeare) Rest in peace my Brothers, you have not been forgotten.
Chauncy R Mays was born December 7, 1985 and graduated from Chapel Hill HS in 2004. He married Katherine Carpenter in 2007.
"He was such a sweet and positive person when I knew him." Molly Hudson, Dallas, TX, schoolmate, Como-Pickton High School
"He was always talking about going back what he could do to help somebody else. I never understood it, but it takes a different kind of person to do that and we're all proud of him." Matthew Terrell, best friend
Mays, a 25-year-old native of Cookville, Texas, was assigned to 63rd EOD Bn, 20th Support Command and attached to 4th Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division’s Task Force Patriot based at Fort Polk, La.,
He was assigned to 705th Explosive Ordnance Disposal Company in the Tangi area. Mays was working out of Combat Outpost Tangi in support of 2nd Battalion, 4th Infantry Regiment, while deployed in Afghanistan.
While his comrades credit Mays’ dedication and expertise for having saved a “countless” number of lives as an EOD non-commissioned officer, he meant much more to them and to his unit.
“Staff Sgt. Mays was more than a friend; he was a brother, a mentor and a very helpful person,” said U.S. Army Spc. Dwayne Rhymes of Conroe, Texas, 705th EOD. “He was a great EOD technician, and he was willing to do anything for anyone. Staff Sgt. Mays was a blessing to those around him, and he will truly be missed.”
U.S. Army Sgt. David Cochran of West Newton, Pa., said there are few people who have a positive impact on everyone around them but that Mays was one such person. “The world is a lesser place without him,” he said.
“His time with us may have been far too short, but the impact he made on our lives will be everlasting,” said U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Joseph Czikalla, also with 705th EOD.
U.S. Army 1st Lt. Alex Dial of Decatur, Ill., said Mays was the unit’s best and he truly set the standard for excellence.
To U.S. Army Sgt. Chandara Hak of Santa Rosa, Calif., Mays was “the greatest mentor” she said she has ever had. “He was a leader who led from the front. He was always careful, but never fearful. I will do my best to follow in his example.”
Mays’ company commander, U.S. Army Capt. Aaron Teller of Hillsville, Va., described the kind of person Mays was and what he meant to the 705th EOD unit and Soldiers.
“Staff Sgt. Mays was a stellar leader and EOD technician who exemplified selfless service; he would give you the shirt off his back without hesitation,” said Teller.
Mays’ awards and decorations include the Bronze Star Medal with two oak leaf clusters; Purple Heart; Army Commendation Medal; Army Achievement Medal; Army Good Conduct Medal, second award; National Defense Service Medal; Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal; Afghan Campaign Medal with star device; Iraqi Campaign Medal, second award; Global War on Terror Service Medal; NCO Professional Development Ribbon; Army Service Ribbon; Overseas Service Ribbon, third award; NATO Medal; Meritorious Unit Citation; Combat Action Badge; Senior Explosive Ordnance Disposal Badge; Explosive Ordnance Disposal Badge; and Driver’s Badge.
Fellow soldiers remembered U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Chauncy R. Mays in Logar, Afghanistan in March, 2011, as a tremendous explosive ordnance disposal technician, an outstanding mentor and a true friend.
He was remembered on March 6, 2011 at Chapel High School in Mount Pleasant, TX, and by VFW Post 3986 of Mt Pleasant, TX. His service was protected with a Flagline by Patriot Guard at the request of the family.
He is survived by wife Katherine Carpenter Mays, of Greenville, TX and daughters Chesnee and Kiley.
U.S. Army Spc. Christopher G. Stark was a 22-year-old Monett, Mo., native assigned to 705th Explosive Ordnance Disposal Company when he died during an improvised explosive device attack while on a dismounted patrol in the Tangi area. Stark was working out of Combat Outpost Tangi in support of 2nd Battalion, 4th Infantry Regiment, while deployed in Afghanistan.
Several Soldiers said Stark was an outstanding team member and a great EOD technician. Stark’s comrades said he was always willing to help others and made everything he did fun for himself and for those around him.
“Spc. Stark served as my EOD team member; his input and enthusiasm was crucial to the successful completion of numerous missions,” said U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Joseph Czikalla of Clive, Iowa. “He loved being an EOD technician. There was never a day that Chris didn’t live life to the fullest. He experienced more in his 22 years than many do in a lifetime.”
Stark’s “strong sense of loyalty and devotion to his team made him a very reliable technician,” said U.S. Army Sgt. Chandara Hak of Santa Rosa, Calif., and 705th EOD member. “You could always count on Spc. Stark to have your back in any situation.”
U.S. Army Spc. Dwayne Rhymes of Conroe, Texas, knew Stark as a friend and brother who worked hard and was always willing to learn new things. He said fellow Soldiers could always count on Stark if they ever needed anything, calling him “a blessing to those around him” who will be missed but never forgotten.
The officers of 705th EOD also valued Stark as an EOD expert and a Soldier. They knew Stark was an integral part of their organization.
“Spc. Stark was great at everything he did. You could always count on him to do his best and give his fullest effort,” said U.S. Army 1st Lt. Alex Dial of Decatur, Ill. “He was an invaluable asset and an absolute pleasure and blessing to be around.”
“Specialist Stark was a gifted and motivated Soldier,” said; U.S. Army Capt. Aaron Teller of Hillsville, Va., Stark’s company commander. “He had a driving passion for EOD work.”
Stark’s awards and decorations include the Bronze Star Medal, Purple Heart, Army Achievement Medal, Army Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Afghan Campaign Medal with star device, Global War on Terror Service Medal, NATO Medal, Army Service Ribbon, Overseas Service Ribbon, Combat Action Badge, and Explosive Ordnance Disposal Basic Badge.
If you knew Chauncy or Christopher personally and have stories to share of His Honor, His Valor, of his life, please contact us to update his article.