SSgt Christopher J. Antonik
July 11, 2010
CL Marine killed in Afghanistan
Wednesday, July 14 2010
By SARAH SUTSCHEK
CRYSTAL LAKE – The Antoniks had come home from church Sunday and were getting ready to go out to eat when the doorbell rang.
Three men were there to tell them that their son had been killed while serving in Afghanistan.
Staff Sgt. Christopher J. Antonik, 29, died while supporting combat operations in Helmand province, Afghanistan, long considered a Taliban stronghold. He was part of Operation Enduring Freedom.
Antonik's paternal grandmother, Florence, had been with her son and daughter-in-law when they were notified.
“My son had gone to open the door, and there stood three men in their uniforms and medals,” she said. “They said they wanted to see his mother, too, and John called his wife to come down. It was just a shock.”
Antonik was assigned to 1st Marine Special Operations Battalion, U.S. Marine Corps Forces Special Operations Command at Camp Pendleton in California. He and his wife, Erin, whom he married in December, shared an apartment in California.
“We just cried and cried,” Antonik's grandmother said. “It was a hard thing to take.”
Antonik, who graduated from Prairie Ridge High School, joined the Marine Corps on May 23, 2001, and was trained as a reconnaissance man. He was promoted to staff sergeant Feb. 1, 2009, joining the special ops Sept. 24, 2009.
It was Antonik's third tour overseas after two tours in Iraq.
“He wanted to serve his country, and he worked very hard at it,” Florence Antonik said. “He was such a fine boy. I love him very much and I watched him grow up.”
In a 2001 interview with the Northwest Herald, Antonik's father, John, spoke about his fears after his son joined the Marine Corps, but said that the family was in God's hands.
“We have anxiety, but not much at this point,” he said. “I guess the reason we feel this way is because he got his wish. This is something he wanted to do, even in high school.”
When his father came home from work, Christropher Antonik would rappel down a tree in his front yard as a greeting. He had hoped to one day become a Navy SEAL.
Christopher Antonik's decorations included 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.
Antonik also is survived by his sister, Jennifer. He is the sixth service member from McHenry County to have died while serving in Iraq or Afghanistan, the third from Crystal Lake.