SPRING LAKE HEIGHTS, NJ, USA U.S. Army PFC, HHC, 1ST BATTALION, 64TH ARMOR, (TF LIBERTY), FORT STEWART, GA CHARLESTON 11/24/2005
Army Private First Class Ryan D. Christensen, of Spring Lake Heights, New Jersey died Thanksgiving Day November 24, 2005 at the Medical University of Charleston in Charleston, South Carolina. He was killed by an ailment that developed a month before he died. A bacterial infection that began with a cyst and a rash and surgery in a Kuwaiti hospital, led to liver failure, seizures and a brain hemorrhage, and ended with his death of the non-combat related illness while in Balad, Iraq.
Ryan was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 64th Armor Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, Fort Stewart, Georgia. The unit was supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom. Ryan was stationed in South Korea for about a year before his Iraq tour.
Christensen’s mother and stepfather, Suzette and Mark Detulio lobbied the Army for nearly a year until Fort Stewart commanders changed their mind and agreed to honor Ryan with a memorial tree on Warriors Walk there at Fort Stewart. During a visit to Fort Stewart Suzette found no tree for Ryan because his death was not combat related. Now, Ryan has an Easter Redbud Tree complete with a marker designating that tree in his honor. The tree is part of many trees which honor the fallen of the Army’s 3d Infantry Division since 2003. Placed there by Ryan’s mother, the lowest tree branch holds a small silver cross on one of its lowest hanging branches.
Ryan Christiansen attended Manasquan High School, then earned his high school diploma through an adult education program offered by the Monmouth County Vocational School District. He was thriving in the Army. He went from being a young man without direction to a young man with direction and commitment. An avid video game player, Ryan liked working with computers and electronic equipment. He was a very good artist and was studying Web design. In Iraq, he helped develop and maintain a Website for a pro-American radio station, Peace106FM. He was very good at what he did and Ryan kept in contact with family via the internet. He was very family-oriented, and had superior love for his mother.
Ryan enlisted in the Army about a year after leaving high school in Monmouth County. He attended Manasquan High School, and then earned his high school diploma through an adult education program offered by the Monmouth County Vocational School District. At the time of his death, he had been in the Army for three years and three months, and was expected to return home around December 2005. He had trained as a signals specialist.
Christensen joined the Army in 2002, after graduating from Monmouth County Vocational School. He grew up in Belmar, Manasquan and Spring Lake Heights, and attended Manasquan High School and Woodcliff Academy in Wall Township.
Ryan’s father, grandfather, great-grandfather and a great-uncle all served in the Navy or Marine Corps, according to Cory Christensen, Ryan’s father. His parents separated when he was 2 years old. His mother, Suzette Conner-Detulio, lives in Brick Township with his stepfather, Mark Detulio. His father, Cory Christensen, lives in Staten Island with his stepmother, Judy Christensen.