Tickfaw soldier killed in Afghanistan

Facebook photo -- Spc. Chris Drake, of Tickfaw, was killed Sunday in Afghanistan.
Facebook photo -- Spc. Chris Drake, of Tickfaw, was killed Sunday in Afghanistan.

Spc. Chris Drake talked of boredom in his last Facebook post from Afghanistan.

The young soldier from Tickfaw was killed Sunday by a rocket-propelled grenade attack on his vehicle, according to the Department of Defense.

Drake, 20, leaves behind a fiancée and a 3-year-old son.

He joined the Louisiana National Guard a few months after graduating in 2011 from Independence High School, where he was an all-district cornerback.

Drake’s football coaches talk about his good nature and his desire to excel.

The happy demeanor he usually displayed lifted the spirits of people around him, Mike Young, the team’s defensive coordinator, said Tuesday.

Beneath that demeanor was a strong drive to succeed, the coach added.

“Nobody was going to outwork him,” Young said. “Anything he did, he did at full speed.”

Whether it was working in the weight room or intercepting passes, Drake always concentrated on getting better, and he felt the military was another way to improve, Young said.

“He was as hard of a worker as anybody I’ve ever seen,” said Keith Carona, the head football coach at Independence High. “That includes working on everything from being an athlete to being a student.”

Even while Drake was in high school and playing football, he worked at Middendorf’s Restaurant near Pass Manchac, Carona said.

The last time Carona saw his former cornerback was at the restaurant. Drake told his former coach of his military service and his plan to go to college after returning from Afghanistan.

Carona recalled Drake’s closeness to his family, particularly to his mother, but the Internet also shows the soldier had 1,314 Facebook friends.

Many of them wrote to support him while he was in Afghanistan.

The notes he sent showed an appreciation of those friends and their prayers, but the short messages also provided insight into the ups and downs of military life, including the joy of a promotion in April.

In other comments, he talked about being bored and “exhausted from this stress.”

Like most deployed soldiers, he dreamed about getting home.

And there were flashes of the warrior:

“You know me,” he said in one post. “I never back down from anything. It’s that country boy in me!”

Drake was assigned to the 1084th Transportation Company, 165th Combat Support Sustainment Battalion, 139th Regional Support Group based in Reserve.

Funeral arrangements have not been announced.