Spc. Christopher Michael Harris’ cohorts in the 1st Brigade Combat Team, who mourned together when he died last August in a suicide bomb attack in Afghanistan, celebrated together this week when they gathered for a photo shoot with his widow and the infant daughter he never got to meet.
Harris, a native of Jackson Springs, just outside Pinehurst in Moore County, was 25 when he died during his first deployment with the Devil Brigade, a unit of the 82nd Airborne Division based at Fort Bragg. Harris joined the Army in late 2013 and deployed to Afghanistan as a part of a troop surge last fall.
He had learned just days before his death that his wife, Britt, was pregnant with their first child.
After Chris’ death, Britt told friends she was determined to make sure their child grew up knowing Dad was a hero. She engaged the unit — the 504th Infantry Regiment — in the pregnancy by shipping party poppers to the team overseas, sending pink confetti flying as a way to let the soldiers know Harris’ baby would be a girl.
Tiny Christian Michelle Harris, named for her father, was born on March 17, the day the brigade returned home.
Britt Harris shared photos of the baby on social media: wrapped in Dad's camo uniform shirt, or snuggled, sleeping, in a wooden crate between his military portrait and his combat boots.
Last week, Britt Harris introduced Christian in person to about 20 of her dad’s military brothers during a professional photo session at an arboretum in Fayetteville.
Since then, the photos and videos have been picked up by national news outlets and tens of thousands of people have seen images of the soldiers, in their dress uniforms, gathered around the tiny baby in the white onesie that proclaims, “My daddy’s my hero.”
A fund has been started for baby Christian at www.gofundme.com/5mdsmvc