U.S. Army Spc. Christopher Opat laid to rest - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

U.S. Army Spc. Christopher Opat laid to rest

by Danielle Wagner

CRESCO (KWWL) An eastern Iowa soldier was laid to rest Thursday. 29-year old U.S. Army Specialist Christopher Opat died June 15th in Iraq in a non-combat situation. The incident remains under investigation.

Spc. Opat joined the Army in 2003. He was part of the Stryker Brigade based in Fort Lewis, Washington.

Opat is a Lime Springs native and graduated from Crestwood High School in 2000. June 24th, family, friends and dignitaries gathered to say goodbye.

Escorted by the Patriot Guard, Spc. Opat was laid to rest at Our Lady of Lourdes Cemetery near Elma.

Opat died during his third tour of duty in Iraq. Prior to his burial, a funeral service took place at Notre Dame Catholic Church in Cresco.

"This is a day to honor the service of Spc. Chris Opat and also to honor the sacrifice of not only him, but also his family," said Col. Greg Hapgood with the Iowa National Guard.

During the funeral service, Reverend Richard Ament said every family in the U.S. is blessed by those who choose to serve our country. He said four brothers in the Opat family, including Christopher, are in the military and his heartfelt sympathy is with the Opats.

"He was a great soldier. He paid the ultimate sacrifice for his country. He always did what he was told, and he was just a funny guy," said Master Sergeant Louie Barlolong.

Master Sergeant Louie Barlolong was Opat's first sergeant for about two years. He escorted Opat home.

"I'm gonna miss Chris and all he's done. I'm sure his platoon is gonna miss him," said Barlolong.

The family of Spc. Opat said,  "Chris will be in our hearts forever. He was a loving son, brother and uncle. There are no words to describe the void in our lives."

"You should be very proud of your soldier," said Master Sergeant Barlolong.

Reporter: Danielle Wagner

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