Christopher E. Custer, 21, Marine combat engineer

August 09, 2004

Lance Cpl. Christopher E. Custer, a Marine combat engineer on leave from duty in Iraq, died after a car crash Aug. 1 near Williamsport, Pa. The former Bel Air resident was 21.

A statement released by the Marine Corps said that Corporal Custer was due to serve out his enlistment in November. He was on three weeks' leave after having served with the 2nd Combat Engineer Battalion in Iraq.

A military spokesman said Corporal Custer received about six ribbons and awards since he joined the Marines in 2000. Among them was the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medals. As a combat engineer, Corporal Custer was involved in the construction of defensive positions and removing homemade bombs planted by enemy forces, the Marines told The Sun last week.

Corporal Custer was born in Pasadena in Anne Arundel County and later moved to Harford County. He enjoyed skateboarding, ice hockey, fishing and camping, his family said.

He graduated from Fallston High School in 2000 and enlisted in the Marines, his family said. In addition to Iraq, Corporal Custer served in Haiti and was stationed at Camp Lejeune, N.C.

Police in Porter Township, Pa., said Corporal Custer was killed when the car he was driving went out of control, hit a tree and plunged into Pine Creek. His body was recovered three days later from the Susquehanna River in Jersey Shore, Pa.

A memorial service will be held at 1 p.m. today at Schimunek Funeral Home, 610 W. MacPhail Road in Bel Air. The date for a burial with military honors at Arlington National Cemetery will be announced.

Survivors include his parents, Georgia Page Stubbins and Edward P. Custer of Bel Air; a sister, Katherine P. Rugiel of Pasadena; a grandmother, Evelyn P. Stubbins of Bel Air; and an uncle, John Stubbins of Perryville.

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