"What you have is a man of character," Jeff Riley, Chris's uncle, said. "Chris was a man of character and valor and what you have here is a hero, a hero who was willing to give his life."
Hundreds of mourners paid their respects to the 2005 Windsor High School graduate. He was remembered by friends as someone who was always quick with a smile and a laugh, and he would do anything for others.
"One time hunting, I was cold. My fingers were frozen and he offered me his gloves," Riley recalled. "Another time I complained I was hungry, and he offered me something out of the pack that he had. He was just that way."
Birdwell was assigned to the 4th Special Troops Battalion, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division based in Fort Carson.
According to the Army, Birdwell and Spc. Mabry Anders, 21, of Baker City, Oregon, were riding in a vehicle when it broke down. When the two men got out of the vehicle to fix it, an Afghan soldier opened fire on them killing them both. The Afghan soldier was then killed by an airstrike.
Birdwell's brother, Dustin, asked those attending the funeral to remember this.:
"Because of his life and the way he chose to live he made a difference in our lives, and in some way Chris Birdwell has impacted your life. So, I ask that you remember who he was and always remember how he made a difference in your life."
Birdwell was buried at Fort Logan National Cemetery.
(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)