Fallen Heroes of Operation Iraqi Freedom

Remembering the servicemembers who died in the service of their country.

Army Staff Sgt. Erickson H. Petty


28, of Fort Gibson, Oklahoma.
Petty died in Salman Al Habb, Iraq, from an attack by small arms fire while conducting security of a weapons cache. He was assigned to Headquarters, Headquarters Company, 1st Battalion, 35th Armor Regiment, 1st Armored Division, Smith Barracks, Baumholder, Germany. Died on May 3, 2004.

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"To Kimberly and Colton,

It has taken me 13 years to write you this letter. I served with Eric in the 1-35 AR Scout platoon. I had the pleasure of being in his section during the beginning of the deployment, it was a sad day that I was moved from his section to the platoon sergeants truck. SSG Petty was more than just our section sergeant and our NCO; he was a friend to many but to myself and some of the other younger soldiers, he was a father figure. He kept me in line most of the time, gave great advice (always with a flare of humor), and you never had to question if he truly cared about you. You knew it and felt it at all times. I know he is in heaven watching us. In 2011, during Operation New Dawn my Platoon was tasked to go to Camp Liberty and represent our Squadron during the Memorial Day 5k. It was the last thing I wanted to do while deployed. Every participant received a race bib with a fallen soldierís name and info from the Iraq war and somehow out of all the tags, I received Eric's. I credit my career in the Army to him. I will never forget a few weeks before he passed he was up at Camp Stryker for a refit. I was asking him questions about what I should do about staying or leaving the Army. He told me never be content. Do something new, but stay Army if you like it just a little. That conversation has helped me over the last 13 years numerous times. I was there the day he passed. Myself and Cool-breeze were performing aid, I wish I could have done more, I wish I could have done better. I have ran that moment through my head thousands of times, I am truly sorry for your loss. I would give anything to have done more. Eric's memorial was impressive, in my following tours I have never seen one where the loss cut so deep. His passing effected more than just his unit, it affected the entire area of operations and the force. I am truly grateful for the love and kindness your family showed my mother, she raced up to the funeral knowing how much SSG Petty meant to me, I am truly thankful. He could bring light into any room any situation whether it was a joke or storming into the platoon house in the green zone yelling out "there is a blank storm of terrorism out there boys". I will always remember him as a great man, a man to model my career, my role as a father, and my life. If I am half the man Eric is, I will feel truly accomplished when it is my turn to join him. I apologize it took me so long to write this. Know that your family is always in the thoughts and prayers of my family (my wife Shelly, daughters Kelsey and Haley, and son Colton Erickson)."
1SG Niall Cooper of Fort Benning GA

"I would like you to know that I had the honour to pray for SS Eric Petty while I was on the Isle of Iona last week. I did not know him at all but I was given his name by a group of pilgrims from Huntsville, Alabama who were, in turn, given his name by a priest there.
We had a very moving service by the Abbey in Iona, a sacred island off the west coast of Scotland, holding in our hearts the men who died in the service of their country.
May they rest in peace.
Penelope"
Penelope Mayfield of east sussex, england

"I Got to Baumholder with SSG Petty and did German headstart with him. I instantly liked him. I served with him during the 03-04 deployment. He was an awesome scout and leader. May he always be remembered. He gave the ultimate sacrifice and to that our country should always be greatful. I wish your family the best and know that you will never be forgotten"
Michael Rivera of Bakersfield, CA

"My Eric,
Our son Colton, graduated from high school and walked in your path as a 19 Delta Scout. He is leaving in June to finish up his training at Ft Benning and will be attending college at OSU. He will stay in the Oklahoma National Guard as he works towards to be a Physical Therapist and work with the wounded soldiers. Your brother been with us for the week and will go with him Tuesday to help me get him squared away for college. Colton high school soccer varsity team made school history and our son received lots of awards for his hard work. Our son received many opportunities to try out for the 18 and under soccer Olympics and play for colleges but turned it down so he can be in the military and work towards his career. I will miss watching him play. I will have to stay busy so I do t get lonely whe he's away from home. I told Colton " mom will have miss my son days and ill just drive to OSU and have dinner or just hang out" he just laughed but you know I'll do that lol.
I miss you so much!!! Colton wore his dress blues to the prom this year and to his graduation. When Colton had his dress blues on getting ready for graduation, he walked in the kitchen and I seen your face. I about lost it but knew that you were with us on this special day with our son.
I love you more than any words could ever describe and you are always in my heart, thoughts and prayers.
Your wife,
Kimberly"
Kimberly of Fort Gibson, Oklahom

"On 10-10-2002 SSG Petty enlisted me in the US Army from Grand Junction, CO. Today; which is more than 10 years later, I sit on my couch reading over my enlistment contract and see his signature and I remember him going over my contract with me. He has been such a wonderful inspiration for me and started my career in the Army. My prayers go out to all the family and friends of such a wonder soldier. I will never forget him."
Scott of Asheboro, NC

"To the family of SSG Petty.. I served with your loved on in Iraq he was a true friend. He was a true Soldier and Hero. He is what all NCOs should try to be. He often spoke of his family and you could tell that he loved you all. SSG Petty you are missed Scouts out Battle"
SFC Clark, A. C. of FT Huachuca AZ

"This is the son of Sgt. Eric Petty, to any one who served with my father in Iraq i would enjoy speaking to you. My email is colton.r.petty@u.s.army.mil"
Colton Petty of Fort Gibson, Oklahoma

"I never will forget the memorial. It will stick with me forever to see the pain from the scouts. The way Top did the role call. I didnt know SSG Petty well but I knew the people who knew him....just know he is not forgotten."
Robert Vaughn of North Carolina

"Dad I miss you deaply and always you showed me how to ride a bike, how to perform proper manners. You showed me the light of the lord and you gave me memmories well now as a sophomore in high school I ache from not having you with me and watching me grow up but I know that you are always watching over me and help guiding me too the right path Iam going to be following in your footsteps next year and becoming a 19 delta calv scout love you and miss you. Your son Colton Petty."
Colton petty of Fort Gibson Oklahoma USA

"Dad I miss you deaply and always you showed me how to ride a bike, how to perform proper manners. You showed me the light of the lord and you gave me memmories well now as a sophomore in high school I ache from not having you with me and watching me grow up but I know that you are always watching over me and help guiding me too the right path Iam going to be following in your footsteps next tear and becoming a 19 delta calv scout love you and miss you. Your son Colton Petty."
Colton petty of Fort Gibson Oklahoma USA

"To the family of:Erickson H.Petty
I am so sorry for the loss of your love one. My heart cries out for you in your grief and you have my thoughts and prayers. He died a hero defending freedom. May you have the peace and understanding that only comes from God. Prayerfully we will all meet in Heaven one day where we will rest in the arms of Jesus. If you need prayer or need someone to talk to, please call or write my pastor: Rev. John Pearrell 11677 Brown Bridge Rd., Covington, GA 30016. (770)787-1015.
Your friend in Jesus Christ, Polly Ballew Covington,Ga"1-22-11"

"This message is for Colton Petty. My name is Chris Culotta and I served with your father in the Army. Your father truly was a hero and I hope you are as proud to be his son as I am to have served with him. I remember him telling stories about the little pranks he used to play on you and while I cannot remember the details of any of his pranks I do remember the story he told about the prank you played back on him. He said it was early morning on a Saturday and he was lying awake in bed as your mom slept and he heard the door open a little. He looked at the door and as he did all he saw was the cat flying at him with outstretched claws because you had thrown the cat at him from the door. I tell that story to all my friends and we always laugh when I do.

I did not spend a lot of time with your father but I could tell from that time that he loved you very much and was extremely proud of you.

I hope that you realize how great of a person your father was and live your life in a way that would make him stand up and scream "Thatís my boy!!!" because I know that is exactly what he is doing in heaven."
Chris Culotta of Tempe, AZ

"While serving with SSG Petty in Iraq I saw the example of who most of us hope to be. He always led by example and placed the welfare of his men above his own. Even from another section it was easy to see how his strength and courage affected everyone around him. We love and miss you brother. Scouts Out"
Daniel Raymond of Johnson, VT

"SSG Petty-
What can I say?... A man of honor,... a man of good. I had the privilege of serving by his side as his wing-man in the beginning of the deployment. When I think of him, I remember of only the good times we had and all good he showed others. I remember the example he set for up and coming soldiers. I try not to remember of the time when he was taken from us, but of how thankful I am to have known him and to have served with him. So let us not mourn his passing, but celebrate the wonderful memory of him, and how great it was to have known him. May his memory live on and be an inspiration.
You'll be missed Saber 5"
Kenneth LeBrun of Reichenbach-Steegen/Germany

"I had the honor of serving with SSG Petty in Texas and Korea. I had some great times and great laughs with him. I am sorry to have heard of his passing and if there is anything you need let me know. My prayers are with you all."
Michael Kosinski of Ft Myers, FL

"To Kim and Colton, I have ofter thought about this day and what would I say to you. First I just want to say how sorry I am for your loss. My heart still stops when I think about the phone call I rec'd from my son on May 3, 2003! I remember the call like it was yesterday and how I just wanted to hold my son in my arms. Michael had served beside Sgt. Petty and was with him when they were ambushed on that awful day.Michael too had been wounded on that day and rec'd the Purple Heart. Michael looked up to Sgt Petty and spoke of him often when he would call home. Michael never knew his father and even though Sgt. Petty wasn't that much older than he was, he looked up to him like a father. He respected him. Michael was affected by what happened. I remember when he came home for the first time after leaving Iraq and crying like a baby in our arms over what he saw and how much he missed "his" Sgt.! I know he wanted to keep in touch with you, but seeing you reminded him of the pain. I have always prayed for you and your son and that you would find the strength to go on. Your husband was and still is a hero to me and one day I will have to opportunity to thank him for being there for my son. For showing him kindness and acting as a father to him. If you can and want, I would love to hear from you. My email address is: janicecsager@yahoo.com. Pleae take care and give your son a hug from all of us. Michael's email is mikedpeach@yahoo.com. If you get the chance please drop him a line. It would make him so happy to hear from you. All my love!"
Janice Sager of Ocala, FL USA

"April 28, 2009
To the family of Staff Sgt. Erickson H. Petty:
Erickson gave the ultimate sacrifice and will be held in the hearts of Americans forever. I cannot and will not let our fallen heroes be forgotten. My deepest sympathy to you. "Some gave all."
Peggy Childers
"Don't Let The Memory Of Them Drift Away"
www.IraqWarHeroes.org"
Peggy Childers of Carson City, NV

"To the Petty family,
SSG Petty was my section sgt for the majority of my tour in Iraq. He set a standard that few have ever equaled. His courage on the streets of Baghdad was surpassed only by his dedication to his soldiers. Even the members of the platoon in other sections looked up to him as a true hero who loved what he did and never regretted a single day. There is not a day that goes by that I don't think about him and I consider myself blessed to have been able to know him and I know the rest of my platoon shares this opinion. SSG Petty is in Fiddler's Green right now laughing it up and waiting to see us again. RECON!!!!!!!!!!!"
Hud Connery, formerly Spc. Connery of Nashville, Tennessee

"Mrs. Kim and Colton,
My love to you all. I didn't evenm know that this site existed. I found while researching my middle school in Germany. I love and miss you guys. By the way, we are now in the states."
Alicia Poore and family of Columbia, SC

"One of the finest NCOs I've had the honor to serve with. I can't brush my teeth in the field without remembering SSG Petty telling me that it raises morale by 38%. The truest hero, and most tragic loss. I can only strive to live up to the standard he established."
CPT Roman Izzo (formerly Saber 1) of C/1-66 AR, 4ID

"To Kim and Colton,
I escorted Eric's body along with Kim and Colton on the painful journey to OK. I hope you and Colton are doing fine and would like to speak to you sometime.


joe.songer@us.army.mil"
CPT (RET) Joseph Songer of Scott Depot, WV

"To Sgt Petty's Family,
I never met your loved one, but I have a bracelet with his name on it. I wear it proudly today, along with a bracelet bearing the name of a World Trade Center victim who was an Air Force veteran. Your loved one is my hero. Your sacrifice will not be forgotten. marlenehinkle@aol.com"
Marlene Taylor of Loganville, Ga.

"SSG Petty, I served with you in Bagdad, Biop, and St. Michels. You were always one to take in whatever it was that was bugging us. You always had advise for us or a great way to make us smile. I'll never forget how we always argued about how nasty T-Rations were and how you loved them so much. I miss you SSG Petty, we all do. I didn't know you the best, but you were the best man I've meet in my life. I look up to you still and everything you stand for. You will never be forgotten and I will always remember you and prey for your family. Emer Beritte "Always Ready" Scouts Out!"
Christopher Eric Burt of Spokane, WA

"SSG Petty was my first section SGT and I don't know how I was so Lucky to be a member of his section. As a brand new soldier in Iraq I didn't know anything but SSG Petty and the members of bravo section taught me. I always felt safe when he was anywhere near, because of his leadership and knowledge. He is a true american hero, He has been in my thoughts every day since the day we lost him and will continue to be in my thoughts forever. After reading all of the other messages, It seems SSG Petty left a good impression on everybody he ever came across. He was a great NCO, a great soldier, and above all a great man."
Matt Gilmore of Baumholder Germany

"I served with SSG Petty in Baghdad and St. Michaels Camp. He was a great man and a better soldier than most can only dream to become. You can always say that he loved his Black Hawk gear. He will never be forgotten or missed. The SCOUT Platoon of HHC 1-35 AR BN in Baumholder, Germany, is missing one of its best. See you in the field. "SCOUTS OUT" "RECON""
SPC. Ladell, Tommy B. of Baumholder, Germany

"I served with SSG Petty in Baumholder and Irag. I was a mechanic with 1/35 AR. I always looked forward to having SSG Petty and his scouts come into my motorpool to have their trucks worked on. It is an honor to have served with such a dedicated and motivated NCO. My prayers go out to the Petty family. Your loss is not forgotten. "SABER WRENCH OUT""
SPC Brandon Dunn of 1/278th ACR, TNNG

"To the Petty family,
I served with SSG Petty in the 1/35 Scout platoon. I will always remember him with sincerest admiration. He was a great NCO, leader, and most importantly a great man. He and I used to debate politics between patrols in Baghdad. He was an inspiration to everyone around him. We miss him dearly. God Bless you. Petty, I'll see you in Fiddler's Green. "SCOUTS OUT""
Nate Benco of Albuquerque, NM

"SSG Petty was beyond words a great patriot and a far better person and soldier. He had such a large impact on all the men he served with escpecially those of whom where in Iraq with him. Thank you you SSG Petty for all the great memories and the the lessons taught. "RECON""
Jeremy Skrypek of Sacramento Ca

"From the Scouts of "Ghost Troop" (BRT), 2nd Brigade, 1st Armored Division. You will never be forgotten SSG Petty. If you only could have seen how many fine Cavalry Troopers made it to your memorial service in Baghdad, you would have been so proud. Your spirit will live on forever in the hearts of your soldiers and comrades."
SSG Dan Bieling of Owasco, NY

"Kim and Colton,
You don't know me. I did not know Eric personally, but I felt a great loss when he passed. We had a veterans day ceromony at my school last year and I saw you there. I just wanted you to know that I am praying for you. God will always make a way. Hang in there."
Jennifer Weeden of Ft.Gibson OK

"I am deeply sorry for your loss I knew Ssg Petty very well and am saddend by his loss. I was stationed with him in Baumholder. I was the driver of the CSM at the time and we saw each other often when he reported to our headquaters. Ssg Petty had a very deep impact on helping me become a fellow NCO and soldier. His sacrifice is one of great saddness. I am once again deeply sadden by your loss."
Sgt Arles Russell of Ft Irwin Ca

"Your loved one was remembered on 27 May 2005 in Bicentennial Memorial Chapel General Protestant Worship Service in Fort Gordon, GA. His life and your sacrifice are not forgotten. Thank you. We are praying for you.
Chaplain (Major) Alva Ray Bennett
Kim and Colton, you are especially in the hearts and prayers of Debbie and Michelle. May God continue to bring you comfort. 2 Corinthians 1:3-5"
Ray, Debbie, and Michelle Bennett

"I had the honor to serve with Eric while stationed at Fort Carson, 3/3 ACR K TRP 3rd plt. He was a young Sgt at the time but filled with a lifes worth of kwowledge and wisdom. Eric was a born leader, all the men had so much respect for him. What I remember most about Eric is how much he loved his family. He was so proud of his brother for being in the army, and had so much respect for the years of service his father gave. But if you asked him about his son and Kim he would give you the biggest smile a military man could give and say how lucky he was and how much he loved her and how proud he was of his little boy. SSG Petty thank you for all you have done for me. You are a true American hero. I will see you on the HIGH GROUND Eric until then SCOUT'S OUT"
Sgt Will Gingras of Boston, Ma

"I didn't serve with Eric in the military but I did serve with him in English class. Even then he was a hero. He didn't discriminate against anybody and I always knew that out of everybody I met in highschool, he was going to be the one out there defending the life that we all grew up with.

My condolences and thanks to the Petty family."
Mark Cowden of Northern Ireland

"If there is anyone out there with Kim's & Colton's information could you please email it to me or email to get to Kim??? my email address is krissyngermany@hotmail.com.. Thank you!
It is hard to Imagine that Eric is gone! He was a wonderful Father, Husband, soldier & friend! I am sure that he is looking down on Kim & Colton now & keeping them safe! God bless!"
Krissy Wagner of Copperas Cove Texas

"TO KIM AND COLTON,
ITS JOE FROM COLORADO. WE HAVNT SEEN EACH OTHER SINCE FT. BRAGG, IM SORRY ABOUT ERIC I JUST RECENTLY HEARD. I HAVE A FAMILY NOW ALSO, I WOULD LIKE TO TALK SOMETIME."
JOE of FT CAMPBELL TN.

"To the Petty family and friends... i served with Ssgt Petty. he was a good man and a Great soldier. it was a true honor to serve with him. God Bless"
Raymond Morua of Ventura/ Ca

"To the erickson family from the wahl family. We are deeply sadden by the lost of Erickson! As we lost our son Gregory on the same day. Still it's only six months. It really, no easier on us; as I believe it is with you. Viewing Erickson picture; that was nice. Have to do that for Gregory. Our heart and prays are with Erickson and your family."
leonard wahl of Valley Stream Long Island

"Kim and Colton, We miss you so very much. Eric must have been a very special man to have such a special family. To Eric's mom---I met you when you were visiting last year, I was Kimberly's neighbor and friend from church. I am so sorry for your tremendous loss. I pray for you and your family always."
Amy Richardson of Baumholder Germany

"Dear Petty family and friends , E.H.P. flew the Flag for us , now we will keep it flying here at home . The Fort Worth servers at a Steak house mark all 25,678 dates of Combat using the serial # of paper $$$$$$ i.e. H / / 9.11 ' 01 / E. .We offer a $49.11 reward for I 02 23 1945 J and D 06 06 1944 D and dozens of other days of Honor & Valor ."
ken rhodes of fort worth , Tx USA

"To the family of S. Sgt Petty,

It was an honor to serve with S.Sgt Petty in Bagdad and Kalsu. He was a inspiration to all the soldiers around him. He always had a special aoura around him that would lift up everyone spritualy. S. Sgt Petty was above all a soldiers soldier. He was the true meaning of an American Hero. All of my heart goes out to the family of S. Sgt. Petty. "SCOUTS OUT""
PFC Weigle of Philadelphia,PA

"To kim and the rest of the petty family, I was stationed with your son in Texas and in Colorado. Eric was a great soldier. He loved the Army, loved his country, and loved his family. I remember how he always talked about his family especially his father. I remember how he could always make me laugh. He could definatley tell some great stories. I recall on numerous occasions I would make fun of him when he would call a Camaro a Camara (he had a think oklahoma accent). We were good friends and I will truly miss him. Eric your were truly an outstanding soldier and I hope someday I get a chance to meet your family and see kim and your son again. I know we will serve together again in heaven, until then....SCOUTS OUT!!!

If anybody has his wifes or families email address please pass mine on to them. My email address is deloye.meacham@us.army.mil"
CW2 DJ Meacham of FT Bragg, NC

"ON BEHALF OF THE HEADQUARERS AND HEADQUARTERS COMPANY 1ST BATALLION 35TH ARMOR REGIMENT, OUR CONDOLENCES GO OUT TO THE FAMILY OF SSG PETTY. HE WAS A VERY WELL RESPECTED NCO AND A GOOD LEADER TO HIS SOLDIERS. HE HAS GIVEN GREAT THINGS TO HIS COUNTRY AND WE ARE THANKFUL FOR THAT. IT'S BEEN A LONG ROAD, AND WE HAVE COME A LONG WAY; WE WILL NEVER FORGET THE GREAT PERSON HE WAS. GOD BLESS"
HHC 1-35 AR BN SOLDIERS of BAGHDAD, IRAQ

"To Eric Petty's family,
I know this is a hard day for you all. I too miss my son so much, but I still have to hold to the fact he is in Heaven. I pray the Lord will continue to be with you all as you go through out today.
I just pray that everyone truly know just how much their freedom truly cost someone else, and will never forget them."
Wyvonne Bollinger of Poteau, Okla

"Janet,
I am still praying for you, your husband, daughter-in-law,grandson, and the many other love ones who have lost a great son, husband, father, grandson, nephew. I know the Lord has sent a comforter to you and your family and I am so grateful. I still think of my Wayne and cry, but not like I did. I just dont want our kids forgotten, because they were someone special and yes we will see them again.
It was so good to meet you and your family, hope to maybe get with you all for coffee sometime, or even you and your husband.
Thank you for reaching out to me as well and helping me during this time as well. It was healing for me as well."
Wyvonne Bollinger of Poteau, Okla

"Sergeant Petty, goodbye soldier and thank you. You are my hero."
Bill of Houston, Texas

"To Erickson's family, I am so sorry for your tragic loss. Please know that many appreciate his service to and sacrifice for our country."
F. Smith of Pennsylvania

"to the petty family from the wahl family. deeply, sadden by the lost of your son. he is more then a hero! he has touched many hearts in the corse of his life. an all will miss him dearly! we lost our son Greg, and as your son. both enjoyed serving in the army as for our country. our prays are with your family."
leonard wahl of valley stream, ny

"to the petty family from the wahl family. deeply, sadden by the lost of your son. he is more then a hero! he has touched many hearts in the corse of his life. an all will miss him dearly! we lost our son Greg, and as your son. both enjoyed serving in the army as for our country. our prays are with your family."
leonard wahl of valley stream, ny

"Mr.& Mrs. Petty,
I just wanted to let you know that I truly enjoyed meeting you. I am gonna be gone to Reno, Nevada, but you can still call my cell phone and if I get a message, and I will call as soon as I get the message."
Wyvonne Bollinger of Poteau, Okla

"We Will NEVER FORGET !"
Please KNOW so many people share your sadness, and we are remembering your family in your loss and your deep grief. Your HERO, Erickson, will be remembered by name. Our thoughts and prayers are with you. God Bless you. Pat & Sandi Breckenridge from Montana "

"To Erickson's Family and Friends:

On behalf of the Blanco-Caldas family, we send our sincerest condolences. We share the same loss ... the same pain. Our prayers are with you in this most difficult time and we thank you for his bravery and sacrifice.

Sincerely,

The Family of Capt. Ernesto M. Blanco-Caldas, 82nd Airborne, KIA Iraq 12/28/2003.

Gloria Caldas (his mom) of San Antonio, TX"

"To Erickson's Family:
There are no words to express the sorrow we feel for you loss. May God bless you and help you through this time."
Dan and Meg Manninen of San Antonio, Texas

"Thank you Erickson Petty, you will not be forgotten. Your bravery goes beyond words. I want to express my deepest gratitude for your sacrifice. To the family and friends, my prayers and deep condolences in your loss. May God strengthen you from knowing that fellow Americans and people around the world care about you and grieve with you in your loss. God bless you all. A very appreciative fellow American,"
Leo Titus of Grayslake, Illinios

"To the family and friends of Staff Sgt. Erickson Petty:
May God's grace be with you during your time of grief. Please know that our thoughts and prayers are with you and we feel your loss and share in your sorrow. Bless Erickson for the sacrifice he has made to make a better life for the rest of us."
The Ford Family of Wells, Nevada

"To the family and friends of Staff Sgt. Erickson Petty:
I am saddened by the loss of your loved one. He will always be remembered as a hero for fighting for freedom. I hope that this website will be a source of comfort and encouragement for you during this difficult time, and in the future as you recall the memories of Erickson, who continues to live on in your heart."
Tim Rivera of Powder Springs, Georgia

Honor them by remembering... Freedom - is their gift to us But his soul goes marching on