19 years old from Dubois, Wyoming
3 Battalion, 11th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, I Marine Expeditionary Force
April 9, 2004
"I don't think anything can prepare you for two young men standing in the living room telling you your son’s been killed," said Gretchen Mack, mother of PFC Chance Phelps. "It's just surreal. They were crying." The last time she had talked her to son was a few days before his death. "He said, 'Mom, I'm fine.' He sounded great. It was really good to be able to talk to him. It made us feel better."
PFC Phelps was KIA while battling insurgents just outside of Baghdad, Iraq.
Friends recall Phelps as a fun-loving, hard-nosed kid. "He was big but didn't throw his size around to intimidate people", said Jarod Estey. "He was probably the toughest kid I knew growing up in grade school. He was probably the biggest kid, too — well-built and strong. But he was real easy going. He always had a smile on his face."
"He was very in tune politically," said his mother. "He knew what he wanted for this country. ... He told me after 9/11, 'I absolutely have to go. I've got to do something.'" But joining the military isn't anything new for the family. His father, John Phelps, is a Vietnam veteran. And his sister, Kelley, works at the Pentagon and is engaged to an Army sergeant.
"He had an unusual amount of zest," said his mother. "He just possessed this quality that he had to be in the thick of things all the time. He was very, very positive, very funny. ... His main thing in life was making people laugh."
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