KIA July 11, 2010
Operation Enduring Freedom
Assigned to 1st Marine Special Operations Battalion, U.S. Marine Corps Forces Special Operations Command, Camp Pendleton, California
Marine SSgt Christopher Antonik died July 11, 2010 while supporting combat operations in Helmand province, Afghanistan. SSgt. Antonik had previously served 2 tours in Iraq and was serving in his first tour in Afghanistan.
Chris had decided early on that, like his adoptive father, John, he’d someday be in the military. As a child, Chris collected a container full of G.I. Joe figurines, which were rewards for playing well during his soccer games. When he was around 10 years old, Chris informed his dad that he was going to become a Marine; he would follow through on that goal a decade later. Chris graduated from Prairie Ridge High School in 2000 and joined the Marines a year later. After years of hard work and dedication, he became a reconnaissance man and was assigned to Camp Pendleton following his previous deployment to Iraq. Although some considered him only an average student while in high school, Chris defied those who underestimated him by becoming someone important and respected in the Marine Corps. He was promoted to Staff Sergeant in February 2009, joining Special Ops in September 2009. “Our team motto is ‘All it takes is all you got’ and that’s how Chris lived his life,” said SSgt. Robert Hilton, who served with SSgt Antonik.
Chris was a lover of Halloween and Christmas, a good Coors Light, and watching his favorite hockey team, the Chicago Blackhawks. But his truest love was his childhood sweetheart, Erin, whom he married in December 2009. SSgt Antonik is also survived by his parents, John and Cindy; sister, Jennifer; grandmother, Florence; and beloved dog, Chase.
SSgt Antonik’s decorations include a Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal, three Marine Corps Good Conduct Medals, a Combat Action Ribbon, four Sea Service Deployment Ribbons, an Afghanistan Campaign Medal, the Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, two Iraq Campaign Medals, the National Defense Service Medal, and two Navy Unit Commendations.
Staff Sgt. Christopher Antonik was 29 years old from Crystal Lake, Illinois
Original portrait was presented September 14, 2013 by artist Phil Taylor during the Marine 4th Recon Battalion building dedication in Joliet, Illinois