Combat Heroes SPC Lowe and Captain Freeman

SCP Christopher "Kit" Lowe with ANA soldiers

SPC Christopher "Kit" Lowe with ANA soldiers

It’s not too often you get to meet a hero in person, but I’ve been fortunate to meet several of them since being here.  You won’t see this in the newspaper, because the media is narrowly focused on fatalities and this hero survived his wounds.  But today you can read about a hero I would like to recognize.  He is a friend and brother in arms.  SPC Christopher Santiago Lowe hails from Savannah, Georgia and is a member of the Georgia Army National Guard’s 108th BCT, 48th Brigade – he’s one of the Alpha Troop and I call them the “Georgia Boys.”

SPC Lowe looking for insurgents in Uzbin Valley in June 09

SPC Lowe looking for insurgents in Uzbin Valley in June 09

I met SPC Lowe shortly after arriving here.  Everyone at camp calls him “Lowe”, but his mom calls him “Kit.”  Lowe worked in the same building as I did, except our offices are separated by a plywood wall.  His primary duty was to manage the ammunitions and munitions for the brigade.  In addition, he would accompany his team on missions to the various villages and valleys.  DSC02235In earlier blog entries, I published some photos of him out on missions.
Note:  For OPSEC reasons, I have to generalize some of the facts.  On the early morning of 7 August 09, SPC Lowe was part of a 5-man team patrolling in the Kapisa Province area along with ANA and coalition forces.   While traveling through one of the village hamlets lined with thick stone walls and mud brick houses, the insurgents unleashed a furious attack.  The insurgents were well prepared and it was almost as they were informed and anticipated their arrival.  Approximately 60-100 Taliban insurgents fired RPGs, AK-47’s, PKMs, and Ditska (equivalent of US 50-cal.) and other weapons at the approaching forces.   Lowe along with his team sought shelter in a kalat (mud-stone house inside a walled in compound).  Marine Captain Matt Freeman crawled on top of the roof looking for advantage points and was fatally hit by a bullet.  “Doc” the medic was trying to provide assistance and recover the body.  Doc yelled out for some help and Lowe’s reflexes took over as he scrambled up a ladder to the roof.  Doc was tugging on Captain Freeman’s body and Lowe apparently sensed the danger.  He grabbed Doc and threw him down.  About the same time, Lowe took a bullet to his upper right thigh area.  Both he and Doc fell off the roof to the ground.  Doc apparently fell on top of Lowe’s leg and thought he broke it because Lowe was yelling “My leg, my leg”.  But when the Doc saw the spurting blood, his medical training kicked into high gear and he applied a CAT tourniquet to stop the bleeding.
The femoral artery was nicked, but Doc was able to stabilize the bleeding and Lowe was transported out of the battle space to a helicopter landing zone.  Meanwhile the fierce fighting continued until the Air Force F-15’s armed with a 500 lb bomb along with a pair of Army Kiowa Attack helicopters arrived.   The ANA counter-reacted by methodically blowing up the kalats where the Taliban was hiding.  The insurgents retreated and ran for the hills.  The next few hours were small tactical engagements as the Taliban disappeared.  Tragically that day during this 6 ½ hour battle, the ANA lost 4 soldiers, US 1, and the French had 3 soldiers wounded.  The body count of the insurgents was 6-fold including one prominent Taliban area commander.
SPC Lowe was flown to Bagram Air Field (BAF) where he underwent surgery to save his leg.  Although the details are a bit fuzzy, he asked if he could go back (meaning to his FOB) and the nurse responded, “yes, you will go back.”  But before the nurse could finish her sentence, Lowe gave a thumbs-up.  But when the nurse completed the sentence with “back to the States,” he allegedly produced a different finger gesture.  While SPC Lowe was being cared for by the finest military doctors in country, he was also awarded the Purple Heart.
I had an opportunity to speak with Lowe on the phone yesterday.  He had just come out of another surgery and was still pretty groggy from the drugs, but I was able to decipher his muttering.  I told him he was a hero!  He said, “Senior, I am not a hero, I was only doing my job.”   The doctors were able to save his leg and this morning he is on a plane flying to Walter Reed hospital in Maryland.
As a result of my blog, his mother Sandi has becomes friends with my wife and kept her informed of Lowe’s progress.  Marine “Master Guns” also talked with Lowe too.  It’s obvious he still has his sense of humor about him.  He is quoted as saying to the female nurses “I am single, I am sexy, and I am wounded.”

Lowe undatedSPC Lowe will not return to Afghanistan and will undergo rehabilitation for his leg.  In honor of this brave soldier, friend and hero, I managed to gather some unpublished pictures (see photo slide show below for additional pictures).  I promised not to embarrass him too much.  Get well, Lowe, and Godspeed for your recovery.  PS…Your mom has invited Liisa and I to visit after my deployment.  Don’t be surprised if I show up on your doorstep.   I expect you to be able to run up the hill sides like you did on the last VMO mission.  Take care, my friend, and all of the Georgia Boys wish you the best!

Again, if you’d like to have the slide show move faster, click on the “+” sign in bottom left corner to reach desired speed. You can also click on “View all images” and look at the photos at your own pace.

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24 Responses

  1. Thank you God. Something tells me Christopher is going to be fine. He’d be happier it sounds like to me, if he could be returned to duty with you and the rest of his brethren, and I always mean that to include your sister soldiers.

    Only because I know he wants to more than anything, I hope that one day should he be deemed otherwise ready, he be allowed to serve with you. He is first a citizen, who chooses to serve. Whenever I really think about what that means, I cannot help but be deeply grateful and bursting proud of him, you and all of you particularly in harm’s way.

    We are blessed with heaven’s agents when Our Troops are treated by our battleground doctors and nurses. They just keep their wings tucked because we don’t make big enough gloves.

    God grace you with massive strength, protection, victory and endurance so you all return home.

    Thank you for the pix and report Sgt. You, Liisa and your fur kids remain on my mind, daily.

  2. Happy to hear spc lowe survived his wounds. it speaks volumes, how soldiers and teammates build such a bonding for the need to return to the FOB.may he fully recover from his wounds. and yes he is a HERO. in are book.

  3. So happy to hear SPC Lowe is recovering and he has a band of “Georgia Boys” beside him. My husband served in Vietnam and sorry to say this kind of story would probably not been told during that time. God Speed SPC Lowe and know I am proud of all serving in the military to protect our freedom and keep the terrorist away!

  4. Thanks for filling in the details of SPC Lowe’s actions and subsequent recovery. He is indeed a hero. Godspeed SPC Lowe.

  5. Thank you so much for posting this and highlighting the story of this Hero. I met Christopher briefly at LRMC on Sunday just after his arrival here. It’s so nice to know a little bit more about him. All the best for a speedy recovery, Christopher!

  6. The Thunder Run has linked to this post in the blog post From the Front: 08/12/2009 News and Personal dispatches from the front and the home front.

  7. SPC Lowe is a hero and we are very pleased he’s going to bounce back. Capt. Freeman was a hero too, having volunteered for ground duty. As a pilot, he was going above and beyond the call!

  8. I, along with thousands of others, lined the streets of Richmond Hill, Georgia today to show our respect and support as Capt Freeman’s motorcade returned him home for the final time. His mother’s eyes showed exactly what all military families ultimately fear when their loved ones are deployed. But it is this family’s sad story that let me to learn of the heroism of SPC Lowe. Please let him know that Georgia Girls are also immeasurably grateful to him for his actions, wish him a speedy recovery, and look forward to a Savannah visit from him soon! God bless our armed forces!

    • Thanks for the info about the battle. Doesn’t make it
      any easier, but it is good to know something about
      how it happened. It still leaves a hole in my heart.

      Bill Freeman
      Capt. Matthew Freeman’s proud and sad uncle

  9. I, too, was along the road as Captain Freeman’s body passed by. It was an incredibly sad moment for me even though I didn’t know the hero. Alongside me was a member of the USO who told me of Kit Lowe’s heroism in the matter, a story I hadn’t heard before from anyone else. Pray for the Freeman family as they face some awful days ahead, pray for his fiancee,and pray that Kit Lowe will have complete healing, physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. I appreciate whomever made this story available.

  10. I would like to thank you for getting Kit’s Story out there. I am his cousin and with everything that was going on I didn’t find out about this until a little later. His mother actually messaged me on Monday to inform me of the situation. I immediately came to this site that Kit had told me about to see if there was any news.

    I and others appreciate all that you and the every soldier over there is doing. Being in the Coast Guard my duty is here stateside, but I would be right there with you all if I had the chance.

    I spoke with Kit this morning and he seems to be doing well. His spirit seems to be high and his tone seems good. He still has his sense of humor about him so I take that as a good sign.

    Once again thank you for telling the story. My mother attended the roadside event yesterday in Georgia for Capt Freeman and said it was very moving. She was very proud that so many people still care enough to turn out and support our troops.

    Petty Officer Robert Feus
    U.S. Coast Guard
    Cousin of SPC Chris “Kit” Lowe

  11. This is a great story. Being a Soldiers’ Angel, could I send SPC. Lowe a card? Could you email his address.

  12. I knew Matt and went though the Naval Academy with his father Gary, a career Navy fighter pilot who is now a test pilot for Gulfstream in Savannah. This morning I spoke to SPC Chris Lowe in ward 57 at Walter Reed. I’m going to visit him this afternoon. I asked what I could bring and he said a copy of today’s NY Times. He said he’s tired of the magazines in the hospital. I’ll also bring him a photo I had of Matt Freeman being promoted to Captain by SECDEF Donald Rumsfeld in Philadelphia on Sat 2 Dec 2006 after the Army-Navy game. I won’t mention who won the game.

  13. Thank-you to SPC Lowe for his bravery and sacrifice. He may say he was just doing his job, but the very fact that he chose to do that job in the first place speaks volumes about him. He is a hero to all of us in Richmond Hill who are friends of Matt Freeman. We were proud to stand up for Matt yesterday to bring him home, and we are so proud of Kit. May God richly bless him in his recovery.

  14. SPC Lowe, Thank you so much for your service and heroism. I grew up with Matt Freeman, he was a wonderful person and will be missed greatly. I will keep you in my prayers.

  15. As I left work early in Savannah to return to my hometown of Richmond Hill to participate in the “sidelines salute” to Capt. Matt Freeman, I couldn’t have anticipated what I was going to witness. As soon as I reached the city limits sign, flags were placed all along the road, all the way to the funeral home. It was a beautiful sight and tears welled up in me at the thought of the loss of this brave man. As the summer heat baked us on the sides of the roads as we waited, we were willing to stand there as long as it took. Finally, the motorcade rode slowly by us. The mood was somber; it was but a moment of time, but one that will forever stay placed in my mind as I saw Matt’s mother, Lisa, and the expression on her face. I can not know her grief, or the grief of Matt’s family and close friends. As a daughter of a father US Army Retired, I am so very thankful for the sacrifices made by our men and women in the armed forces, as well as those made by their families. Thank God we live in this country, but it is at their expense and that of those who came before them that we are so blessed. Prayers in abundance to the Freeman family!

  16. Spc. Lowe, thank you so much for your service and heroism. I grew up with Matt; he was a sweet guy. He will be missed greatly. I do hope you get to feeling better.

  17. I met Matt in 1998, as I joined him entering the Class of 2002 at the US Naval Academy. We spent 4 years there enduring the rigors of the Academy and Aerospace Engineering. Following graduation, Matt and I spent almost 3 years together in flight school. I came to know Matt as a friend and a great American. I was truly shocked when I learned of his death. He was fulfilling a vital role in our War on Terrorism. He will be surely missed, but not forgotten! Thank you to all those who were there to welcome Matt back home.

    God Bless!

  18. I have posted a copy of Matt’s combat award for valor online so that others can see it at the link provided.

    It says:
    - Matt was a C130 pilot based in Okinawa but he volunteered for this deployment.
    - He was on the ground just 2 weeks but he volunteered for this patrol in order to coordinate air support if required.
    - Once under fire, as the senior man present, he went to the rooftop of the building where his 5 man unit had taken cover in order to gain a better vantage point to locate and engage the enemy that had his unit pinned down.
    - There he encountered a nearby Taliban fighter with an RPG who could have taken out the building containing his unit.
    - He killed that insurgent drawing deadly fire upon himself from other Taliban forces.
    - Every other member of his patrol survived the fight.

    There’s not much more anyone could have done than what Matt did.

  19. Thank you, SPC Lowe, in our eyes you are a hero just because of what you do. We are all greatful to the men and women who protect us from the terrorist. Thank you to all past, present and future hero’s for your service and heroism. I don’t know you but I work with your father and if you are anything like him, then we are all blessed. My prayers go out to you for a speedy recovery and also out to Capt. Freeman’s family for there loss. Just remember he is gone but not forgotten and one day you will all be together again. God Bless America.

  20. SPC Lowe-

    First and foremost I would like to thank you. I hope for a speedy recovery for you. I was along the sidelines in Richmond Hill when Capt. Freeman made his arrival home, altought he was a close friend, he wasn’t the only hero I was there for. I was there for every hero that has fought for my freedom and risked their lives, just as you have. You are in my prayers.

  21. I just recently found out about Kit being hurt,and the other casualties. i am deeply saddened at the loss of life but do understand it is their job to protect our country and our freedoms.SPC Lowe says he is not a hero, he was just doing his job, but every man and woman who takes the oath to protect our country,our freedom, our rights,and help others are hero’s to me. So i say thank you to every single member of the military force out there,thank you for caring and loving your country and having pride in the UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

  22. Our hearts go out to Sandi and Don, Kit’s parents. We know how proud they have been of him, as well as all their children, and their concern for his well-being. He couldn’t have a more supportive family.

  23. [...] Kit was wounded in August in a Taliban ambush in Kapisa Province (you can read about the ambush here). SPC Lowe recovering at Walter Reed Army Medical Center, Sept. [...]

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