In Memory of Chris Neidrich (RAVEN 18)
At approximately 10:30 AM on June 5, 2004, CIS Special Operations Officer Christopher Neidrich (RAVEN 18) was killed in an ambush near Badghad International Airport while on temporary assignment in Iraq, providing Executive Protection for American diplomats.
Chris came to CIS in 1993 after being honorably discharged from the United States Navy. Chris aspired to be accepted into the Navy’s prestigious Basic Underwater Demolition School, where he would train to be a Navy SEAL. However, due to an injury sustained in the Navy, Chris had to separate from the military. Chris still longed to be a part of an elite force, which brought him to CIS.
While with CIS, Chris served in the SSG division where he was an integral part of what we are today. Chris later transferred into the Executive Protection Division where he was assigned to high profile celebrities, business executives, and a number of other details where he always proved to be a valuable asset to CIS. In December of 2003, Chris was scheduled to certify as an Anti-Terrorism Officer which would have given him one more identifier as a trained professional; this was delayed due to his selection by Blackwater USA to deploy for assignment in Iraq.
Chris is survived by his young son, Gage Neidrich, and fiancé, Angela. Chris will be missed and always remembered as a true warrior; one who not only spoke about being a professional, but also lived as one.
A special memorial page has been put up to honor Chris and his contributions to CIS. CIS personnel and people who knew Chris are welcome to contribute comments in memory of Chris by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
All who knew Chris remember him as
a man of honor, with the soul of a warrior
and a heart of compassion.
On July 1, 2004, we laid our brother to rest. The service was held at Our Lady of Lourdes in Dunedin, Florida.
For a description and photos of Chris' funeral, please click here.
A memorial fund has been established to benefit Chris's son, Gage, and other children of fallen CIS officers. If you wish, you may specify that your donation is for Gage specifically. All donations should be made out to: CIS Survivors Benefit Fund.
Mail all donations to: Critical Intervention Services, ATTN: Bill Schoepf/Memorial, 1261 South Missouri Ave., Clearwater, FL 33756.
About the Ambush
I just received an e mail from Chris this past Thursday, he was telling me that he was coming home in the coming weeks. We were working a project together. My prayers will be with him and his family. The industry has not only lost a friend but a true profesional.
We heard blackwater got hit, but did not know how or who. God this sucks to lose him, he was so young with a lot going for him. I will miss Chris, I felt like a big brother to him at times. He was a good man and squared away. He will be missed greatly. I loved him like a brother. Give him a proper send off and give my condolences to his family & son.
Who Chris was and what he accomplished will, without doubt, become a guiding light for his son in the coming years. We all have heroes that influence and define who we are as we grow up. Heroes help define our character, our beliefs and our commitments. For many of us, our first hero was our dad and I hope to ensure this remains true for Gage. Personally, I thank God that Chris lived, not just because has was a colleague and friend, but because he now is part of the heroes that help to define my life and help to guide me in becoming a better man....Rest well my friend; your brothers are here to look after your boy.
My best friend Chris,
Words cannot come together on times like these. Chris was my friend, a good man and a father who no mater the location, he'd talk about his love for Gage and Angela. Chris for many years we took on complex assignments, some that were more like vacations, some high profile and others we could not talk about. No matter what the gig was, I knew you always had my “6” and we always knew the outcome. You always reminded me on how working for Blackwater was the best career move ever, the high risk jobs that every other security professional envied. Brother, you can rest knowing you did your job better than anyone I ever met. Now the world is a shittier place without you and those mother XXXXers will pay in spades. We at Blackwater will never forget you. You own the plank.
I am the commander of Knotted Engineer One, the detail Chris was a member of from 10DEC03 to 12APR04. He was one of my men and a personal friend. I consider his death a tragic loss to all who knew him and particularly to me from the aspect of command; one never relishes the loss of good men.
D. R., Detachment Commander - Knotted Engineer One
"It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat." - Theodore Roosevelt, 1910
Our condolences to the family and the entire CIS Organization for the loss of Chris Neidrich. I am certain he will be dearly missed.
I was very saddened to hear the news about Chris. I remember working with Chris, and remember him to be a true professional. I do not know why it was such a shock to me because warriors like Chris do not die of old age.
Chris will be missed by all,
In the years I have known him, Chris was a man of distinction that put his life on the line for the protection of others. Chris was a true professional with the courage and dedication to risk his life protecting people ranging from citizens in high-crime neighborhoods to dignitaries with active threats against their lives. By contrast to mistaken images of people in our profession, Chris was a very gentle person with great kindness for people. He was a living example of the Warrior-Poet...with a soldier's soul and a heart of compassion...a man of honor...a quality that is sadly lacking in this world.
He was a true comrade-in-arms and more importantly, a good friend.
I am so sorry for your loss, Both must have been a terrible blow.
If there is an unreported, misunderstood side of the Global War On Terrorism & Iraq in particular, it is the critical role and incredible sacrifice of US and Coalition contract security personnel, truck drivers, technical advisors, and many other dedicated professionals.
We don't get purple hearts or commendations, but are bleeding and dying on many of the same battlefields as GI's around the world.
Some folks tend to wrinkle their nose at us, but we are desperately needed and are there to serve the same goals, support the same missions.
Please accept my sincere condolences and deepest respects for these fine men who have given the last full measure of duty. The world is surely a lesser place without them.
CIS NOTE: We greatly thank Wally for his contribution. Wally is a life-long emergency management professional who also knows first-hand the horrible consequences of terrorism. While also working as a contractor, Wally was wounded and aided response during the May 2003 Al-Qaeda attack at al-Jedawal compound in Saudi Arabia.
My name is Rachel Billiot, we have an agency here in Dothan, Alabama and I too have a husband in Iraq at this very moment, the tension that you have everyday in the not knowing is horrible in itself and then for you to lose him, I want even begin to say I understand. But I do offer a shoulder if needed. My husband too is a Navy SEAL, of course, he comes from the old school, he is 60 and still out there doing what is in their blood. It is something that, once placed, never leaves them. We have been married 24 years and the whole time it has either been doing it or talking it. You will be in my prayers and know that we are here if you need us.
I have known Chris for a long time. We grew up a street apart in Dunedin. He was a good man with an incredible heart. My heart goes out to his son, who will grow up to learn his Daddy was honorable and his beautiful fiance', who my prayers go out to, to raise Gauge to be a proud and honorable man just like his father.
I am so sorry to hear of your loss. I am a father, and can't image how my son would have to live after I died.
To the families of Ken & Chris:
Though we have never met, we share a common goal to serve our country and those we protect. You don't read about us on the front page and we walk down the street as unknowns but we come from a strength and a desire to fulfill an obligation. One that is only suited for a few.
With my recent personal decision to serve in Iraq, I also will leave behind a family and hope to return. To Madison and to Gaige, please be proud of your fathers. Know that they loved you very much and that even though you can't see them right now. They will be with you always.
The thoughts and prayers of my family are with you.
I got a call this morning from Ed about Chris' death. I just can't believe it! He was a great person. It's so sad. He really had a lot going for him. Such a sad day.
I knew Chris and his parents (both deceased now) very well. He was engaged to my daughter for 6 years and even though they went their seperate ways, they remained friends. Even after he met Angela and had his son, he remained friends with both my husband and I and my daughter. He will be very much missed. Please let me know about the funeral arrangements.
I was a friend of Chris' in high school and am deeply sadened this has happened to him. I haven't spoken with him in a couple of years but remember the laughs and good times we had. I am very sad his son will not get to know him, but hope he will be proud of him for helping our American soldiers and hope he knows he died doing what he loved. His family will be in my heart and prayers. Rest in peace friend.
As a long time friend of Chris's I can honestly say that he was dedicated always to whatever his endeavors were, Chris will forever be in my thoughts and remembered as a dedicated and honorable man. My prayers will be with Angela and Gage, for the pain and emptiness in yours hearts are horrific, the memories of such a wonderful soul mate, friend, father, brother, uncle, cousin, and co-worker will help to remember that Chris will forever be in our hearts and with each moment the memories will be cherrished. For whatever reason it may be, the Lord has taken Chris to rest and leaves behind the most precious gift of all...a little boy named Gage! Angela --may you eventually find peace with all this and cherrish each memory and each moment with your precious little boy and know you can be so proud of his Daddy!
Chris was a friend in high school and was always full of life. He was a wonderful guy in school and became and even better man. I know that his son will come to know how special his father was by meeting the people who knew him. I can't imagine the loss that his fiancée is suffering and my heart goes out to her and her family. Chris was doing what he loved and I'm so proud of him for all that he accomplished for our country. For all the others still over there please stay safe and know that you are all in our prayers.
I was also a friend of Chris's from high school. This is such a tragic loss of a beautiful life. Chris was always so kind hearted and fun to be with. My heart goes out to Angela & Gaige; please accept my sincere condolences. May your heart be healed with only the peace that God can provide.
Although I have not seen Chris since High School I remember him with fond memories. When I heard his name on the news I was not only shocked to hear of his death but also very proud to say that I knew him and the ultimate sacrifice he made for my freedom. To your family I am very sorry for your loss. You are in my families thoughts and prayers. God Bless!
My name is Heather Cox, and I am from Urbana, Illinois. Chris' mom Shirley was my Great Aunt. Chris was my second cousin. I remember when Chris & aunt Shirley would come and visit from Florida. I was taller than Chris at that time, and he had feathered back hair, and wore izod polo shirts. We were all huge dorks in the 80's though. We used to have fun playing Uno & Sorry. I used to put Chris & Jason in headlocks all the time! The last time I saw Chris was at our aunt Cheryl's Wedding in 1990. I couldn't believe that he was over 6' tall! I danced a slow dance with him, and had to hold his elbows. When I moved away, I lost touch with Chris, but I have really fond (and hilarious) memories of Chris, myself , and my cousin Jason playing as kids. He is still my cousin, and will always be in our Hearts Forever. My prayers' are with his fiance', his son, and all those who love him!
I am a cousin of Angela's please give her and her family my condolences. It sounds like he really enjoyed what he was doing and took a lot of pride in his country. His son and Angela can be very proud of him.
In my 20 plus years of knowing Neidrich he has always been a great person and friend. Never judging a person by their color, creed or origin. My heart and prayers go out to the loved ones left behind by this tragic situation. Gage I hope you grow up knowing that your father was a great man with a big heart. Angela, you could not have picked a better man to spend the rest of your life with. Hold your head up high because you and Gage have a loving angel watching over you now. May God bless your family and bring the rest of the men and women protecting our freedom home safely.
There are many in the field, some even reading this, others are spread out across the globe, who knew Chris and feel some form of responsibility for what has happened. Maybe you feel if you hadn’t help encourage him to take the path he did, he would still be here with us today. I tell you NO. . . DO NOT feel this way. Chris loved what he did.
When Chris came to CIS in 1993 I saw a bright, capable and worthy young man. Several hurdles in life would challenge Chris throughout these initial years. I witnessed him meet them ALL Head On; not always certain of the outcome- but with his head up- willing to face it. That was Chris. I respected that in him most of all, for all of his boyish ways, he would man up at the right time when others would shrink and give up!
Chris made decisions and set goals, then he followed them. Some of us were guides along the way, teammates, colleagues or just lucky enough to call him friend. In 1994 I selected him for several- large ops. It was here when I saw him thrive. Later, more mature and hungrier for the road, I told him to submit a resume to the V-camp, realizing I was going to lose one of my most talented full-time operators. Chris served and later became a DL. Chris would return to CIS on his down time and provide the 100% he always gave. His last official duty as a Raven unit was to stand guard over Raven One, “me,” during an official state meeting I was attending.
During some of the breaks we went off and spoke of his upcoming departure to Iraq. It is here when you see the sum of a man the clearest. . . prior to his landing in a war zone. I was lucky enough to see the man he had become; the father, the friend and the warrior, all keeping balance with each other in their silent conflicts.
I will miss our talks, I will miss my friend.
I am the Project Manager for the project Chris has been working on. Just wanted to make coms with you and thank you for the nice tribute to Chris. Chris was very proud of his association with you and had several guys here lined up to cross over when this project wrapped up.
Again, Thanks for the tribute---This life is who Chris was...not just what he did.
I spent the majority of my high school years hanging out with Chris. We played football side by side and shared many of the same friends. Our moms would sit together at football games, and I will never forget how his mom used to teach my mom about the game. I remember speaking to him not too long ago about his job and distinctly remember how confident and proud he was of his career. If you knew Chris, this was his calling. I am proud to say I knew such a fine person and I stand behind our mission to neutralize the troubled Middle East and protect our freedom at home. My condolences go out to his family and his fiancée Angela. He will be missed dearly.
My condolences go out to the CIS family and Christopher Neidrich's family,without men like him who are willing to put their life on the line for their fellow man society would be lost.
"Greater love hath no man than this,that a man lay down his life for his friends"....John 15:13.
Chris was a member of the SSFL family as a player for the St Pete Sharks during their 2001 Championship season. Chris is remembered fondly by former Sharks owner Derrick Pollock and Darren Hammond. The SSFL wishes to express its condolences to Chris' family and loved ones as he is survived by his 4 year old son Gage Neidrich and his fiancé Angela. Chris will be truely missed.
Fallen Friend, Class of 91'
Although we did not know you as a man
I am proud to have known Chris Neidrich and will miss him greatly. My thoughts and prayers are with Gage, Angela and Tony.
It is with our deepest condolence to the Neidrich family. Chris will be deeply missed. He was not only a fine player for the St. Petersburg Sharks; but he was also a fine person. REST IN PEACE, CHRIS. To the family, lean on GOD for comfort and understanding.
My name is Gus W. Neidrich III, but I am known by Bill Neidrich. I am Chris Neidrich's cousin fro Rochester NY. What I remember alot about Chris is how much he would do for people. I can see why he got in the line of business he was in. I wish I could of seen him or something before he died, but my life never made it to near Tampa florida to visit him. I was always on the east coast of Florida. The thing that helps me through this is that he is with his father, my uncle, his mother, my aunt, our Grandmother, who died 2 weeks before Chris did, and my mother, whom always loved chris. I sure am going to miss my older cousin. He was a good guy, I think he got that from his father, my uncle would do anything for anyone. and Chris is like that. It doesn't suprise me that he stayed to help train the new people. I feel sorry for his fiance, and son. If you could do me a favor, and tell her that the Neidrich family will be there, if she needs us. I know his sister, Julie, is upset and misses her brother. Her and her Brother Ed, chris's half brother, are the only two that are left from that side of the Neidrich's, the rest are in DuBois PA, Rochester NY, and Dallas TX. Well I better get going and end this, it almost four in the morning here, can't sleep, I'm not sure why. but if you could tell Angela that for me, that would be greatly appriciated.
Chris Neidrich and I did not know each other that well. We had a lot of mutual friends through high school. I would like to extend my families condolences for the loss of Chris. We are proud of what he did for all of us. It's a very sad thing to see. Chris always had a confidence about him that led him to great things and was a great person. God Bless Chris Neidrich, Gaige and Angela. Thank God we had a chance to know him.
I'm sorry to hear about your company's loss of two officers. I know that you and their families are sad and heartbroken. I wish you and the families the best and hope they get through this hard time.
Yesterday I caught a brief bit of news on the TV yesterday and heard that an employee of CIS was killed in Iraq. I wanted to extend my sympathy to you and your staff for the loss of an employee and friend.
Although I never had the opportunity to meet Chris, w corresponded frequently. Chris struck me as a total professional, doing just what he wanted to do with his life.
As a nation, we owe Chris and men like him in the fight the resolve to totally win this war and crush the enemy's will to ever again lift arms against us.
First I would just like to send my sincere condolences to Angela and Gage. My heart goes out to you both. I had the honor of knowing Chris both as a friend and as a colleague in the industry. He's a true professional and good friend and will be missed by many. Angela and Gage keep your heads held high and know Chris is watching over you....I'm gonna miss you mate.
The loss of one friend/coworker is hard enough. Losing two must be devastating. Again, my thoughts and prayers go to all of the family and friends of these two officers. They, along with all of the fallen troops, will never be forgotten.
Our deepest condolences to the family, friends and co-workers of Christopher Neidrich. His name has been added to the Roster of the Fallen at http://members.shaw.ca/jfrobinson/security.htm
I didn't know Chris, I wish I had. He gave his life for freedom and a better world, and that's enough for me. May his son know that his father was a hero. My prayers go out to all who did know him, you all were blessed. Let freedom ring!!!
My name is Brittany and Chris was my uncle. Unfortunately I was never able to meet him and reading all these wonderful comments about him makes me very proud to know that he was my uncle. My best friends father worked with Chris and I talked to him the other day and asked him some things about who Chris was and all I heard were good things and what a great man he was. Even though my dad adopted me when I was younger and my last name is no longer Neidrich I am very proud to say that I was related to Chris. My thoughts and prayers go out to Angela, Gage and Tony, who some day I hope to meet .
When one chooses to put his or her life on hold and or no the line to protect another, is an individual that lives life by a code that no outsider could understand. I did`nt know Chris but I understand what makes us tick. CIS lost a good man, a father and a friend.
I AM SORRY FOR OUR LOSS.
I also knew Chris from high school and middle school, etc. When I spoke to my mom who still lives in Dunedin the other day, she asked me if I remembered Chris. I of course said yes and she told me what had happened. It's so nice to know what Chris was doing to protect our freedom. However, it just brings tears to my eyes to hear about Angela and Gage's loss. Being a wife and mother myself, I just can't imagine. My thoughts and prayers are with you both.
I am sorry to hear about Chris. He was a good man, and a pleasure to work with. My condolences to his family, and I can only hope that they may take some comfort in knowing that Chris died while making a difference.
I also went to school with Chris and am sadden to hear what has happened. My family and I send our deepest sympathy for Chris's family. He was a great man and will be missed. Than you for helping our country!
Chris grew up in a town of good people with strong character. It is very sad to lose anyone from our small community, and he will be dearly missed. My prayers go out to his family and friends. After viewing the photos and literature it is quite obvious that Chris was enjoying his life, I am truly sorry that he has left this earth at such a young age.
I am a first cousin of Chris. I didn't really know him as an adult, but have fond memories of him growing up. He and my Nephew Jason were the same age and played together.. He and his mother visited us often. His mother Shirley and my mother Dorothy were sisters and very close. Shirley was always very proud of Chris and his accomplishments.
I'm glad Aunt Shirley had already passed away. She was quite ill in her last years and Chris's death would have been too much for her to bear.
My heartfelt sympathies go to his fiance, Angela, his sister Julie and of course his young son who I have never met. He was a good man!
I was friends with Chris during and after high school at Dunedin High. Chris was a great guy who always protected his friends. Chris spoke highly of his profession and was proud of what he accomplished. I remember Chris when we use to hang out at Ed and Shirleys on Thursdays to watch college football, and get together for the big college games between the noles and gators. Chris was a good person and I will always remember him that way. It's amazing how people exit our lives so abruptly. This will make two friends who i grew up with whose lives ended tragically and way to short. Chris, thanks for the memories and protecting us during your duty at CIS. We will miss you very much. May you rest in peace.
We are Angela's Uncle and Aunt. We were saddened to hear of Chris's premature death.
Our hearts go out to Angela and Gage. They can be proud of the fact that Chris made made the supreme sacrifice to make this a better world for all of us.
I look at all the contributions and I see what a hero Chris was to everyone who knew him. I hope this helps Angela feel at peace in a small measure and I know it will help their son know of his fathers sacrifice. I know it is probably not appropriate to write twice but I think my friend deserves the honor of knowing that so many who knew him cared about him and the one's he loved.
My family and I did not know Chris well, as I am Angela's cousin. What we did know is how much Angela and Gage both loved Chris. Angela and Gage, our thoughts and our prayers are with both of you, and you know that you can always call us if you need anything. We love you both, and are thinking of you!
I from China , and I hear Chris die , so sad , I hope allies soldiers safe , bless them and their family.
I never met and did not know him personally but would like to thank him and his family for his service, dedication and his final sacrifice. Thank you Chris may you Rest in Peace.
"It is foolish and wrong to mourn the men who died. Rather we should thank God that such men lived."- General George S. Patton, Jr
Angela is a very special neice to us and our thoughts and prayers are with her and Gage. Chris gave his life for our country which may help Gage to grow up in a better world. Angela, if you need us for anything we are there for you and Gage. We love you.
To my friend Chris Neidrich who I will always remember as Hooya…… I never thought that one day I would hear about such a great loss of a man one who wore the black uniform of the SSG, a uniform only a true warrior could wear. I remember the days of yesterday of old past and gone of the SSG, days that I deeply hold inside of me. It was truly an honor to have worked with and beside the MAN and to have had Chris Neidrich (RAVEN 18) as a true friend .I will miss you my SSG brother. To the family’s of Chris Neidrich , "Fear thou not . . . I will strengthen thee. . . I will help thee. - Isaiah 41:10" and to KC Poulin, Tim O'Rourke, and Craig Gundry and to all the C.I.S. officers and staff I send my deepest sympathy and prays to you all who lost such a great friend and brother
"Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy, meditate on these things." - Philippians 4:8
Chuck and I would like to say a few words about Chris. We are Angela's mom and dad. We learned to love Chris truly as time went by and after Gage was born. He was a proud and loving father and loved Angela very much and she him. We will miss him very much and would like Angela and Gage to know that all Angela's brothers and sister, sister-in-law's and brother-in-law are here for her and Gage. Also, for Tony we are here for you too. Just pick up the phone and we are there.
I am Angela's godfather. Though I only spoke with him a few times over the phone and had never met him in
I would like to express my sympathy and support for the family, friends, and co-workers of Chris Neidrich and Ken Barker. I learned of their tragic deaths this past summer and am sure that the pain from such losses is still acutely felt by their loved ones, while the joy of their memories also remains.
I had the honor of meeting Chris during my time with CIS. I was impressed by his charisma, strength of character, and enthusiasm for a profession of service. I am sure those who served on the front lines with him appreciated the integrity that he brought to his profession. While I did not have the pleasure of knowing Ken personally, I am familiar with the rich character developed in the Marine Corps and feel certain that he was a man of dependability, initiative, and honor. My experiences as a former soldier in the 20th Special Forces Group and as a founding member of CIS familiarized me with the deep bonding and camaraderie that occurs around individuals such as these two. I am sure they will be sorely missed.
Their lives are a reminder of the great sacrifices that our society incurs for the gift of security, and their memory serves as an inspiration to all.
With deep respect,
The CSSD family extends its sympathies to the family of Chris Neidrich.. he was from CIS and was on loan to Blackwater in Iraq. As can happen in a War zone,,he suffered fatal injuries "ambush attack"...
We wish the family peace and sympathies. Their son died doing an action to preserve freedom,, liberate and bring democracy to Iraq and to find a way to deflate & defeat Terrorists in Iraq.
The reality is that good guys do die..
A new award for bravery has been created in honor of Chris. Click here to see pictures of the new challenge coin.
For a description and photos of Chris's funeral, please click here.