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Soldiers’ Careers Took Very Different Paths: Military Connection

Christopher Lee Mintz

By Debbie Gregory.

The gunman who killed nine people and injured several others at a community college in Oregon was discharged from the Army for “failing to meet the minimum administrative standards.”

But according to a recent article in the Wall Street Journal, in 2008 the shooter had been discharged from Army basic training at Fort Jackson, SC, after just one month, following an attempted suicide. Since he did not receive a dishonorable discharge, he wasn’t precluded from buying guns under federal law. The Army said it couldn’t confirm details of his discharge, nor the nature of his administrative separation, citing privacy regulations.

Also serving in the Army was Christopher Lee Mintz, the heroic victim who tried to stop the shooter. Mintz served as an infantryman for almost three years, from 2004 until 2007. He advanced from the rank of private E-1 to specialist E-4Meanwhile.

Although Mintz never deployed to a war zone, he received multiple awards and decorations, including the National Defense Service Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal and the Army Service Ribbon.

Mintz’s heroic actions continued when gunfire erupted on the campus of Umpqua Community College, as he tried to block the door to keep the gunman out.

Both of Mintz’s legs were broken during the shooting. His family, friends and acquaintances describe Mintz as a devoted father to his 6-year-old son, Tyrik, and a fitness nut who never missed a workout. They also said his courageous act wasn’t surprising.

Mike Gwaltney, a friend and swim coach at the YMCA, initially bonded with Mintz over University of Florida football, but he also worked closely with his Mintz’s young son. Wanda Mintz, Christopher’s aunt, said Tyrik has autism. “He keeps this schedule,” she said of the boy. “This will throw him off. This has affected so many people.”

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