Tribute to Chris Hurtle


December 25, 1958 – August 14, 2014

Details for viewing, from Bonita Hurtle:

2-5pm on Thursday Aug 21, 2014 at Crowford and Bowers funeral home in Copperas Cove,Tx… He will have full Military Honors Services at the Killeen Veterans Cemetery on Friday 22 August 2014 at 10am and then gathering at our home in Kempner, Tx afterwards.

     This man was a lot of things to a LOT of people!  Chris was a “rare breed”… someone who actually knew what he was talking about, and wasn’t afraid to say so!  That’s why I enjoyed working with him so much…

     I first met him “on the phone”, so to speak!  This was during my first rotation to the National Training Center in mid-2003 (NTC, for those who don’t know what that is)… he had been chartered by (then-Deputy for 404th AFSB) Ray Coffman to “go down there & straighten this out”.  I made the mistake of calling him “Sir” while on the phone with him… in no uncertain terms & a few $*?*&’s, he let me know that he was “Chris”, and he “worked for a living”… those of you who knew him can probably see him on that rant as you read this!  Of course, that was (& still is) exactly the way I like to operate – so we hit it off immediately – even though I had never seen him face-to-face yet!

     The other thing I remember most poignantly about Chris Hurtle is that he was a leader, something you don’t always encounter in Federal Service these days.  He clearly understood from his early days as an Artilleryman that you can’t “tell someone to do it” unless “you know how to do it yourself” (or are willing to learn).  Of course, leadership often means that you have strong opinions about things… I can tell you from personal experience that if he had FOX News (not my favorite channel) on – “don’t touch that dial”… or you would (very quickly) hear an EXPLOSION – right in the vicinity of your ears; in fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if this was taken right after Warren decided to “switch the station” (thanks, Jeannie) – this pic was taken in the “SPO Shop”, where I worked for Chris just before he went back home to Texas (Fort Hood):

warren and Chris

     I worked for (and with) many Logistics Management Specialists during my “second career” as a Department of the Army Civilian, or DAC… I can honestly say that none of them measured up to the technical and moral standards that Chris did… but, on the other hand, he made sure that he took care of his troops – and you (truly) won’t find a lot of DAC’s these days who understand that once they’re elevated to GS-12, 13 & on up the chain – that IS their JOB! 

     One of our proudest accomplishments together was the corraling, identification and shipment of several thousand pieces of “Left Behind Equipment” (LBE) from Hawaii to Fort Lewis and then back to Hawaii… it wasn’t a cakewalk.. long hours, lots of work from the Department of Logistics folks & a few arguments along the way – but we pulled it off – & without his strong leadership talents, that wouldn’t have happened.  We also worked together in Iraq (he followed me there about 3 months into my 7 month tour)… so, we did a lot of things together – all over the world!  You can see him receiving his award for that tour below:

Chris & Souza Mosul

     Chris was also a very strong “family guy”… some might say that he kinda’ “looked the part”, too (of the TV character, I mean… ha! ha!). One of his pet projects at home (for both him and his wife Bonita & their daughters) was the restoration of an ancient 3/4 ton truck out of the Army inventory – I can’t tell you how many hours Chris devoted to that machine – but it was a lot!!!


He worked ’round the house, & when he moved back down to where he wanted to be (Texas), he even did some farming, as shown below:


     Chris will stay in my memory, to be sure… now, I’ve left the COMMENTS block open on this page… so, please DO add your comments in (I’ll approve them before they go live).  Chris Hurtle clearly deserves to be remembered as the fine and caring professional he was!  Fire away!

     You’ll find several pictures of Chris below (sent our way by COL Haebig – thanks!):


smoking Offloading




Port Operations above & below – he was definitely a “take-charge” kinda’ guy!


Hurtle in Charge


Always “on the lookout” for trouble!

Chris on lookout


Chris always had a tale to tell – & he told ’em well!

On the Job Chris Hurtle Making us Laugh

The pictures below were from the military ceremony, and the reception afterwards – sent by Bonita… thanks, Bonita – and R.I.P., my good friend:

more kids fam after1 trib endofsvc bn casket salute honors flag laidtorest

20 Comments so far:

  1. My fondest memory of Chris was at NTC as well when AMC HQ sent some “Subject Matter Experts” to check out OPTRAKS in action…It took me all day to calm Chris down about these fellows and we all went to dinner at the Firehouse together…Everything was fine until they decided to talk about changing OPTRAKS in the middle of Spaghetti…Dinner went downhill from there…Last i heard from Chris was a week or two ago out of the blue…Told me to keep up the good fight with my own cancer and revealed his to me…God’s Speed Bruddah…

    • Absolutely, Bob… that’s what made Chris stand out (so much) from all the other DAC’s… he truly CARED about people… enough so that even in the midst of his own pain, he would call someone up & let them know he was feeling theirs!!!

  2. Bonita,

    I just found out that Chris had died and was both shocked and saddened. To say Chris was unique in my eyes is the ultimate compliment when so many just blend in into the background. He was funny, smart and unvarnished, I instantly liked him. Chris worked for me when I was the LAO in 2000 and I knew instantly he was a “get ‘er done”, kind of guy, a man’s man and a soldiers soldier. He was a quick student and I knew in 2000 that my “bull in the china shop” would make it to the top someday. I’ll miss his slow southern drawl, his eternal sense of humor and his bellowing voice echoing “I GOT IT”. I take comfort knowing somewhere in heaven is a dusty old 3/4 ton truck or perhaps just a simple well worn recliner, with a sign, “Reserved: Chris Hurtle”. Sit a spell Chris, well deserved… well deserved.

    But no, knowing Chris he is up there RAISING HELL……”WHO TOOK MY SOCKET WRENCH???

  3. Wow, this is a big shock to me. I’ve worked with Chris Hurtle for several years. He was good man, he treated me always as part of his team. Rest in Peace Chris!

    • Thank you Jesse. It happened so quick it was a big suprize to me since he had just had an appoinmtment with his doctor on the Wednesday prior to his passing….

  4. No word can express what an amazing person Chris was. I will always remember the mentoring and leadership he provided.

    I remember when he was TDY in Hawaii and I stuffed him into my Mazda Miata so he could get his phone fixed at AT&T. What a sight that was!


    • Thank you so much for your remembering , I am sure that Chris was cursing up a storm because he was so tall and trying to get into your small Mazda…. I can see him now !!!

  5. WOW, This is a big surprise. I am so sorry to hear about Chris. I was stationed with him in Germany in 1983. (2nd Bn 41st FA. We worked very closely in the TACFIRE Shelter. The last time I saw him was in 1991 at the Field Artillery School. I am sure he will be missed. My Prayers go out to Bonita and the rest of the family. Rest in Peace Chris.

    • Thank you James, I was just as surprised since I was suppose to have him in San Antonio for testing this past week. I will miss him very much after 33 years of marriage and being with him during his whole military career. Starting off in Fort Sill, Oklahoma and then Germany where our lives changed after having our girls back to back….

  6. Chris it is hard to accept that you are gone, we had some good times together and some hard times. May you rest in peace and be in the blessed hands of God. Chris you will be missed.

    • Thank you George, yes he will be missed very much by not only those that we have touched throughout our long Military career and life but all of those that we touched have become family to us.

  7. I met Chris in 2003 when I started working for AMC Forward Stryker, which is now 404th AFSB. He was a CECOM LAR for LAO Ft Lewis. He was so full of life. He definitely reigns as the “King of SPO” and he had, and always will have, the respect of everyone he worked with. Every time I hear his name, I will smile and laugh at some reminder. I especially remember the day that the Stryker pulled up to his window (Bldg 9503). Always expect the unexpected with Chris! You will be missed Chris. You touched so many lives with your strong spirit and your soft heart.
    Bonita, stay strong with all the wonderful memories of Chris. My love to you and your family. Ellen

    • Thank you Ellen, I can’t express how much he will be missed… I just keep thinking that he is gone TDY an will be back soon. The lives that he has touched I know he would consider family to us. I know that he had his ups and downs with people but yes he was very strong headed but yet funny,comical and yet stern when it came to his job. I will miss my best friend, companion, and teddy bear….. I call him my tea day bear because he always act tough but was as tame as a kitten……

  8. Dearest Bonita & Family –

    Although I don’t recall if I ever met you during the short time I was the LSE Commander at Ft Lewis, back in 2006, I most *definitely* remember Chris!

    I came onboard at the unit just as “4-2 SBCT” was gearing up; the BLST Chief was CW2 Bernie Milyo & Chris was his “2nd” [actually, Bernie’s “Lifeline/Safety Net”]; Bernie would ‘rant & rave’ about not getting ‘stuff’ and Chris & I would do what we could to calm him down.

    Chris was the ULTIMATE Professional – “Start early? Stay late? No Problem – let’s get the job done!”

    “You need what? No problem!” – and he’d figure it out…and, he accomplished!

    Chris’ Military priority?

    Ensuring that the SBCT Soldiers he was ASSIGNED to support had everything they needed to safely accomplish their task – and he DID!

    I am saddened to write these words tonight, as this means you – his family, and us – his friends, both current and former coworkers, and others – are mourning his loss.

    Very Respectfully,

    Colleen Martin
    COL [R], LG, USA

    • I had the pleasure of working with Chris during my time at the 404th AFSB. He was one of the most geniune people that I’ve ever known, he’d tell you how it is with no regrets. If you didn’t like it you could just keeping on going because he didn’t want to hear it. Even when he was giving me a hard time he would make me laugh, that’s what I’ll miss the most about him, he crude but hilarious sense of humor. I wish that I would have made more of an effort to visit with him here in Texas but he was always busy….busy doing his job like no one else could, being a wonderful husband, an adored father and Papa, and a true friend. I’ll miss you, buddy. RIP Hurtle Turtle, Whale Watcher 1 out.

      PS to Chris……you’ve got some food on your tie.

  9. Although Chris wasn’t related to me by blood, he was my Uncle Chris, he had a loud bark, but a teddy bear. Chris was proud to be an NCO and he never forgot where he came from. I loved working in the SPO section as an Enlisted Soldier. Chris mentored me as a soldier and during my transition to civilian life. He showed me what true leadership is and I always shared what I learned from him with others. He was always upfront with you and I can still remember a rotation at NTC when he teased Sherry About her Sombrero hat….(110 degrees in the shade). The funniest was the relationship that Warren and Chris had… Put them together and you knew in minutes you were going to be laughing. Now.. We didn’t joke around all the time, we knew when to be serious. I have so many stories that I could tell, but I have to save room for others. I still kept in touch with him and I’m really saddened by this. I send Bonita and family all the blessings and I will keep them in my prayers. Chris will truly be missed…

  10. I truly saddened to hear of Chris’ passing…He was one of the good guys.I will miss the long talks we had when hung out and solved all the worlds problems. I am proud to call him a friend. RIP Chris.

  11. I am sad to hear the news of Chris’s passing. I had the difficult task of following Chris as the LMS on the 4/2 BLST when he moved back to Texas the first time. He left me a solid template to guide me in the right direction as I had come from an entirely different arena in the logistics field. I could alway call him if I needed advise. I on occasion had to remind the vertically challenged BLST Chief (CW4 Milyo) that I was not Chris as he had been mentored Bernie in dealing with civilians. Chris came back to JBLM to work in the Bde SPO and I then got to work with him up close and personal on occasion. Chris was a great man, a soldiers man. He strived for what we all did, provide the soldiers with best equipment and support we possibly provide so they could fight the good fight. Chris the Army has lost a great man. I will see you on the other side brother.

  12. Wow, where to begin……..What a man, friend….Chris and I were the first 1-2 punch for the 4/2 BLST team and did I ever learn quickly. He took me under his wing, taught me the ropes, sent me to school and especially how to deal with LAR’s, DAC’s and SCR’s…He prepared me so that I was able to successfully support 4/2 Stryker Bde on two deployments and seven years as their BLST Chief. Chief, it’s about the soldier, always the soldier and that stuck with me till the end.
    He created a strong, smart, knowledgeable and dedicated team that gave it’s all in supporting 4/2.
    The time spent together with the families, trips to the falls, cookouts and working on the power wagon will never be forgotten.

    Bonita, Amanda and Johnna,
    Our most heartfelt condolences in this time of loss. Ann and I will miss the Big Guy, but always cherish the time spent with him and you all.

    All our love and prayers,
    God Bless and God Speed

    “To The Objective”

    Goodbye our Friend,

    CW4(R) Bernard & Ann Milyo, Jr.