Carnegie Mellon University
September 17, 2012

Lt. Col. Chris Raible (CE 1995) Killed in Action Serving in Afghanistan

Lt. Col. Chris Raible (CE 1995)  Killed in Action Serving in Afghanistan

The department was deeply saddened to learn of the death of CEE alumnus Lt. Col. Chris “Otis” Raible, a husband, father, and U.S. Marine Corps commanding officer. Chris was killed in action on September 14 during an insurgent attack on his base in Helmand Province, Afghanistan. He was one of two Marines killed in the attack.

Chris graduated from CMU in 1995 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Civil Engineering. He joined the Marines upon graduation and earned his Naval Aviator designation in 1998. He filled numerous roles during his time in the Marines, and was most recently awarded the rank of Lieutenant Colonel in the summer of 2011. The squadron he commanded, known as “the Avengers,” is currently the only Marine Harrier squadron in Afghanistan. 

CEE professor Larry Cartwright had Chris as a student and research assistant. Cartwright commented, “He was uniformly excellent in all aspects: excellent in the classroom, a highly motivated assistant, very independent, and totally reliable. He was serious when he needed to be and prankish on occasion. Chris brings great honor to the U.S. Marine Corps, to Carnegie Mellon, and to Civil & Environmental Engineering.”

Chris was the recipient of many military honors, including a Meritorious Service Medal, ten Strike Flight Awards, and a Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal. He was posthumously awarded the Purple Heart and a Bronze Star for his actions on the day of his death, and was one of the highest-ranking Marines to die in combat in the Afghanistan and Iraq wars. He would have been eligible for retirement in October.

A memorial service for Chris was held on October 13 at Norwin High School in North Huntington. More than 500 friends, family, and community members gathered for several hours to share their memories of Chris and celebrate his heroism. Jim Garrett, CEE department head, spoke about Chris’ kindness and exemplary leadership.

To honor Chris’s memory, CEE is currently establishing an alumni award in his name for distinguished public service, and has named him the award’s first recipient. In addition, a group of Marine officers has created the Chris “Otis” Raible Family Trust to provide for Raible’s three young children. Those wishing to donate to the trust can do so at any Bank of America branch through a local donation, direct deposit, or bank-to-bank electronic fund transfer.

Our thoughts and prayers are with the Raible family.