Fallen Heroes of Operation Enduring Freedom

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

Navy Lt. Cmdr. Erik S. Kristensen

33, of San Diego, California.
Kristensen died while conducting combat operations when the MH-47 helicopter that he was aboard crashed in the vicinity of Asadabad, Afghanistan in Kumar Province. He was assigned to SEAL Team Ten, Virginia Beach, Virginia. Died on June 28, 2005.

Please send information, photos, and corrections for Navy Lt. Cmdr. Erik S. Kristensen.


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"Thank you forever sir!!!"
Javon Elliott of Suffolk, Virginia

"Today we were honored to receive Erik's dog tag from rear area support's Hang with a Hero campaign. We are so happy to keep Erik in regular conversation and make sure that his name does not cease to be spoken, he will not be forgotten. Erik is our Hero and we will be taking him on the West Coast Thunder Memorial Day ride. Thank you so much for your ultimate sacrifice."
Ronnie Mathieu of Moreno Valley, Ca, USA

"A deep appreciation for your sacrifice on this day of remembrance ."
Leimbach-Glass family of Central City , NE.

"Thinking of Erik this very early morning.I know you are still greving and you will forever greve.Just always remember he was a hero to all americans."
Marjorie Wishteyah of Hutchinson,ks.

"Thank you so much for your service and sacrifice for our country. My condolences to your friends, family and fellow comrades. Fair winds and following seas."
jeffrey k. Heck USAF 82-86 of columbus ohio

Thank you forever in debt for your price for my freedom"
Lt Richard Francisco of white plains md USA

"To all who knew my son LCDR Erik Kristensen I thank you so much for the love and respect you have shown his father and me.
To all that served and died with Erik In operation Red Wings we will never forget all his Seal brothers and all of his brother Night Stalkers of the 160th . Sam kristensen"
Sam kristensen of Washington, D.C.

"He was a friendly person I am proud to have worked with.

It is with the deepest respect that I wish to say he was obviously one of the finest kinds of people the United States produces."
US Soldier (Army Enlisted) of Ohio

"Thinking of you today after the death of bin Laden at the hands of SEALs. I am sure you and your fallen brothers were guardian angels watching over your brothers as they completed the mission. So proud of you all. RIP."
M of Annapolis, MD

"Adml & Mrs. Kristensen; Sir & Ma'am; I only recently heard about your loss. Sir & Maa'am, my heartfelt sorrow, and Semper Confidens Sir."
Thomas A. Jordan, LT, USN of Pittsburgh, PA, USA


I did not know your son at all. I walked into a cigar store called Curtis W. Draper's in DC where one of the owners knew your son well, and continues to organize a "little puff" event in his honor.

I wanted you to know that I'm extremely grateful for his service and that of all soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines who defend this great country.

You are in my thoughts and prayers always.

My sincere condolences to your family.

RIP to this great American warrior."
Ryan of Dumfries, VA

"Dear Ed,please accept my deepest sorrow for the loss of your son.He was a great person and great leader. From the emails from his friends he reminds me of a young Ed Kristesen that I served with on the USS Norfolk (DL-1).

I had read Marcus Luttrell's book Lone Surviror but did not realize that Eric was your son til today. My family was eating lunch in a local restaurant at home, Grenada, Ms. this Sunday when I saw your picture on the HDTV and the story of your son. I still have a picture of you and us on liberty in Bermuda in the late 60's. At the time I was the *'t suppo of the Norfolk...I believe you were the 'B' Div officer.
Please accept my deepest condolences again. ...from an old shipmate,Bill James...wbjames@cableone.net"
Bill James of Grenada, Ms., USA

"To the family of LCDR Kristensen:

Admiral, I served with your son at his first command out of the Academy, the guided missile destroyer USS Chandler. Even as a rookie officer wet behind the ears, then ENS Kristensen had the command presence and the aptitude for the job to impress not only juinior enlisted men like me, but his fellow officers. He was among a small handful of officers who were liked and respected command-wide. Personally, as a boatswainsmate, I served with Mr. Kristensen primarily on the bridge and quarterdeck. He made every watch interesting, from quoting the UCMJ to discussing Shakespeare or Melville. And as OOD on a midwatch on the bridge, you could bet on him sending the messenger down to the galley for some fresh bread for midrats. In my injury-curtailed career, I can only recall a few officers by name. Mr. Kristensen is chief amongst them. More than a dozen years after I served with him, I fondly remember your son. And nearly four years after his loss, I still mourn his passing."
Steve Pulliam of Everett, WA

"Admiral and Mrs. Kristensen,
I only recently became aware of your tremendous loss. As a parent I can only imagine the grief that you have had to experience these past years. I never knew Erik, but heard of him while I served under Capt. Kristensen on board USS Waddell. Please accept my belated but most heart felt condolences and sympathies."
LCDR Mike Kerins, USN(ret) of Selah, Washington

"A competent officer and an even better man.....miss ya pal. Semper Fidelis, Sailor"
LtCol Richardson of 26MEU (SOC) NC

"Erik and I were good friends in Yokosuka, Japan (8th and 9th grade). I was the short, scrawny trumpet/tennis player. He was the tall, giant trumpet/tennis player. Erik had this perfect mouth curl when he played and he was very talented. He was so fun to be around..always with a "glass half full" approach to life.

It's been 21+ years since those early childhood years and yet, his positive influence on me remains to this day.

Thank you, Erik. For your service and sacrifice to this great nation. For showing us all how to live. For your friendship! I miss you!"
Rick Lundeen of Seattle, WA

"By complete chance, I ran into Erik Kristensen at a downtown San Diego night club after I had gotten out of the Navy ; he recognized me and immediately jumped over and hugged me! Out of surprise and happiness of seeing a former shipmate, I found myself hugging him back and in that loud night club, we exchanged frantic explanations of how we ended up in San Diego after our service aboard the USS Chandler (DDG-996.) He told me that he had orders to the Coronado Naval Amphibious base as a SEAL boat officer; I had simply gotten out of the Navy and was living a civilian life. We agreed to meet again, and so he told me how to find him on the base. When I nodded and acknowledged him as Mr. Kristensen, he corrected me and told me to call him Erik. It wasn’t the first time he had corrected me on his name; the first time was when I had stood a bridge watch with him while deployed to the South American waters. In that pitch black night, I as the QMOW (Quarter Master of the Watch), acknowledged the new Ensign’s presence on the bridge and mispronounced his name as “Mr. Christiansen.” He walked over to the chart table, and in the dim red light he swept his index finger across his name tag and said “ it’s Kristensen.” I corrected myself with embarrassment, but he compensated for it with smiles and a casual conversation. The thing that I always remembered was the innocent and likable way about him; apparently I wasn’t the only one, ...everyone liked him a great deal. Even my chief told me how fond of ‘this new Ensign’ he was! I could tell that my then chief was always looking forward to standing watch with him. Shortly thereafter, he was given the nickname “Special K.” I think the junior officers originated this name, but soon the enlisted members including myself adopted it. I remember the smile on his and the rest of the watch crew’s faces as I addressed him as “Special K” for the first time; I along with everyone else had simply joined his fan club! All of this was in my head when I had my chance encounter with him in San Diego back in 1998.

The minutiae of everyday life would eventually get in the way of my intention to search him out in his new command, and so I never saw him again. Not until the August of 2008 would I be lead to him, ... this time through a book. A late night C-Span interview of a Navy SEAL weeks before, had led me to notice a book while browsing a book store. Flipping through “The Lone Survivor” I suddenly flashed across the name Kristensen, … and then Erik, … all in a curious past tense. The feeling of surprise turned into a feeling of suspense as I kept reading about him as a Navy SEAL in Afghanistan. I flipped to the middle of the book for some pictures and I saw his photograph as a Lieutenant Commander with the Naval Special Warfare Insignia. I frantically skimmed for more passages on him and eventually learned of the heroic conduct that he had placed before himself while in action. I saw another picture of him apparently in BUD/S training, twice the size that he was when I knew him. Through his hardened exterior, I still saw his innocence. Suspense was turning into a feeling of tragedy as I remembered the many pitch black nights that I had stood watch with him, and the last time that I had seen him in San Diego. He was a competent officer, but I always saw him as a genuinely nice guy. We had heard that his father was an active duty admiral and had a lot of respect for the fact that he hadn’t invoked his father’s influence to avoid an ordinary surface warfare command like the Chandler. He was a real sailor; it didn’t surprise me at all to find that he had made it as a Navy SEAL; looking back, I can see that this is where he had always belonged; but all those times that we had addressed him as “Special K”, I didn’t know that we were looking at a future war hero as confirmed by a purple heart and a bronze star.

It isn’t difficult to pay tribute to a remarkable officer with such an accomplished uniform, but I wanted to speak of him exactly as I saw and remembered him. I wanted to tell everyone the impression that he made on the members of our command when he was just a brand new officer aboard our ship.
Lieutenant commander Kristensen, … Erik, … you will always be our very special K, … more than you know. Our last run in was on my mind for a long time, ...I regret that I never made it to visit you. This passage is dedicated to LCDR Erik Kristensen, a naval officer whom I served with aboard the USS Chandler during 1996-1997.

QM2 T. S. US Navy 1992-1997"
of San Diego, Ca

"05 September 2008
To the family and friends of Lt. Cmdr. Erik S. Kristensen:

I was a classmate of Mr. Kristensen at St. John's College, across from the Naval Academy. While he served at the Academy, he continued to grow intellectually at the Great Books college. I just learned of his passing as I perused the St. John's Alumni website. Mr. Kristensen was an amazing guy, and I am very saddened for his loss. Since my St. John's days, I have joined the Navy Reserve. Mr. Kristensen is the first shipmate of mine, whom I knew oersonally, who has made the ultimate sacrifice. Thus, I have lost a fellow Alum but more profoundly, a fellow brother in arms. Navy officers are made of the highest caliber. I salute him with highest respect."
PO2 Nathan Craddock of Manassas, Virginia USA

"I went to school with Erik in Yokosuka, Japan. He was a dear sweet friend tow which I knew he was bound for greatness. His spirit lives in all that he touched. I miss him dearly"
Stephanie Helsley of Lees Summit, MO

"Ed and Sam
I only heard of Erik's passing recently and am deeply saddened. Ed, when we played golf so many times on Guam I remember how fondly and proudly you spoke of Erik. May God grant you peace in knowing that your son gave the last full measure of devotion."
Jeff Evans of Sacramento, CA

"you never hesitate to aid your comrades when they called for help...your selfless acts will never be forgotten...after reading the lone survivor you guys are always in my heart...i will always tell your story to my nephews, nieces and would be children so that they may grow up emulating you guys....heaven is so lucky to have great men up there in heaven...hope to see you in heaven when my time on earth is done..."
rasmia of philippines

"Spider was and always will be a name that I speak of to the kids that I teach and coach about what it takes to be great American and a real "Man for Others". Sacrifice is hard. Erik paid the ultimate sacrifice for us, and we will never forget him."
SSgt. Neal P. Owens, US Army Military Police (ret.) of Kensington, MD

"Admiral and Mrs. Kristensen,

Mr. Kristensen I had the Honor of Serving Under Your Command onboard the USS Waddell DDG-24... I remembed Erik and Mrs. Kristensen waiting for You on the peir as we returned from West-Pac in 1983... I knew Erik as a Young Boy and what a Great Man he turned out to be... It was an Honor Sir to know him... You and Mrs. Kristensen raised a Good Man... God Bless You and Mrs. Kristensen... I Thank You Sir and LTCDR Erik S. Kristensen for Serving this Great Country of Ours..."
Lee Garell MM3 USN of Tulsa, OK

"October 13, 2007
To the family of Lt. Cmdr. Erik S. Kristensen:
Erik 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"
Peggy of Nevada

"Ed, I didn't know of your son Eric's death until reading the "Lone Survivor" book by Marcus Lutrell just the other day. Please accept my heart felt thanks for Eric's service and deep sorrow for his death. I know what you and Sam must be going through.
We haven't seen each other since War
College days at National '80. It seems such a short time ago we were there. So much has happened. God Bless you and your Family, Dan"
Dan Jones (djones@smartronix.com) of Sierra Vista, AZ

"Ed, I didn't know of your son Eric's death until reading the "Lone Survivor" book by Marcus Lutrell just the other day. Please accept my heart felt thanks for Eric's service and deep sorrow for his death. I know what you and Sam must be going through.
We haven't seen each other since War
College days at National '80. It seems such a short time ago we were there. So much has happened. God Bless you and your Family, Dan"
Dan Jones (djones@smartronix.com) of Sierra Vista, AZ

"Erik, never forgotten, always appreciated!"
T.S. of Kentucky

"If you are able, save them a place inside of you and save one backward glance when you are leaving for the places they can no longer go. Be not ashamed to say you loved them, though you may or may not have always. Take what they have left and what they have taught you with their dying and keep it with your own. And in that time when men decide and feel safe to call war insane, take one moment to embrace those gentle heroes you left behind.( "Major Michael Davis O'Donnell 1 January 1970 Dak To, Vietnam.") America has been built on the blood of Heros and Brave Men of Honor who answered the call. A fellow veteran wants to thank this hero for his service, and my cherised freedoms. May you rest well in Gods loving embrace brave hero, and may God bring comfort to your loved ones for their sacrifice. You shall never be forgotten by a grateful nation.""
William Darby Taylor Jr. of Bonita Springs Florida

"God called yet another SEAL to muster at the gates of heaven RIP Brother in arms, Shipmate"
Doc Weaver

"I met Erik at the 60th street Love Shack in virginia beach. I just want to let his parents know he is not forgotten. I think of him and pray for him often. It surprises me. He was a fine boy, you did a great job and i thank God for the time you had together. I hope your memories stay crisp and clear. He had the finest hand shake ever...strong and warm.Thank you for your sacrifice."
Loretta Clausen of Virginia Beach

"Cmdr. Kristensen,
Sir, I would like to say thank you to you and the other men who were on that Chinook with you for your service and sacrifice for our Country. When your fellow SEALs were in trouble, you did not hesitate to go to their aid. And to your family, I wish to extend my deepest sympathy. After reading all the reflections about, you seemed like one hell an officer."
Mike C. of El Paso, TX

"It's difficult to believe it's been a year. Love ya' and miss ya'"
MS of Annapolis, MD

"Kristensen Family,

A fellow English major with Erik from USNA, I enjoyed those moments when we saw a solution/consideration from opposite sides and then gave each other the "how did you come to THAT illogical conclusion?" face. He thought I was weird. I thought he was entertainingly wicked. We were friends, bonded by a tendency to shake our heads at each other in laughing disbelief--and I will miss him. I sure wish y'all well and congratulate you on your wonderful son."
LCDR Mary Anne Tomlin Andrews of Jacksonville, FL

"Dear Admiral and Mrs. Kristensen,
My deepest condolences to you. I knew Erik as a young, aspiring Division Officer when he checked onboard USS Chandler (DDG-996). I was the "Ops" Officer and had the privledge to work with and train him on the bridge as he learned the ropes on his first ship. He was a model sailor and Officer, very respectful, and carried out his duties perfectly - and always with a smile. I know other officers looked up to Erik because of his character and easy-going (yet professional) demeanor. It was an honor to know and serve with him. The United States Navy has lost one our finest. My deepest sympathies and warmest regards,"
LT. (ret). David Rausche of San Diego, CA

"To the Family of Lt Cmdr. Kristensen,
I am a Midshipman at the US Naval Academy and will be attending BUD/S in August. I never met Erik, but think about him all of the time. He is a model for all future officers to follow and I keep him and you in my prayers always. I run past his burial ground almost every day, he will never be forgotten. God bless. "Quelled on the wing like eagles struck in air - Forever they slumber young and fair""
Midshipman B. K. of Annapolis, MD

"Our thoughts and prayers continue to be with you. It's taken me some time to send you this message because I've also had a difficult time with the loss of Erik and the other fine young men. My brother was with Erik on the same flight. I am so very proud of them all. I only wished I had met Erik, but I'm sure in saying that he had a special love for us all...he gave his life for us and for others. His memory will never be forgotten. -Sister of SFC Marcus Muralles"
Cynthia Swazay of Indianapolis,IN/USA

"Admiral and Mrs. Kristensen,

Admiral, I met you when you came to visit Erik on Guam in 97-98 while he was my OIC at SBU-12. He was hands-down the best officer that I had ever had the honor to serve with. He was a good man and a good friend, and I would have followed him anywhere. His loss is deeply felt by all of the other members from Detachment "India" as well. Erik was one of the most selfless guys that I have ever met and he was there for me and all of the other Det India Boatguys in both good times and bad. We really looked up to him and it is a cosmic injustice for him to have been taken from us so soon. Please consider those of us that served with him as your sons, for he will always be my brother. The world is a darker place without him."
Ken Herbert of Maine

": To the family of:Erik S. Kristensen 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 Brown Bridge Rd., Covington, GA 30016. (770)787-1015. Your friend in Jesus Christ, Polly Ballew Covington,Ga"

"Admiral and Mrs. Kristensen
I served onboard the "Mighty Warship Waddell" under Adm. Kristensen. I remember our tiger cruise coming back from west pac when Erik was aboard for the cruise back home.
Admiral and Mrs. Kristensen, my deepest sympathy and condolences on your loss"
MS1 Bob Ray of San Diego, CA.

"From 'Hearts Touched by Fire' ... Erik we thank you for your devotion; your honor courage and commitment. May the Angels in Heaven greet you with a thousand clarions, and a warrior’s ‘Welcome Home’. Siste Viator."
John & Patti Ferrara of Newbury, Massachusetts

"As a mom of five young children, I am so grateful for the sacrifice of this brave solder Erik S. Kristensen. You are loved by many. Words can not express the emotion. He payed the ultimate price for our freedom and the freedom of so many other people who suffered under the rule of Sadaam. May God be with his family in this time of sorrow and may you find comfort in the fact that we think about Erik's sacrifice for the love of his country. May we NEVER forget! Thank you!"

"A true warrior poet has left us. May God continue to bless his family as they move on."
A Johnnie of Fort Bragg, NC

"Deepest sympathies to the family of Erik. He was a hero and inspiration to all Americans. We are saddened by his loss but greatful for his sacrifice upon the altar of freedom."
Jim C. of Nutley, New Jersey

"May God Bless Your Family"
Dan, Cindy, Tiffany, Eric Dietz of Littleton, Colorado

"I was Erik's first Chief at his first duty station onboard the USS Chandler (DDG-996). He was an awesome Division Officer and did what his Chief said!! He taught me alot as did I teach him. I have always considered him a friend. We kept in touch long after he transferred but as always, not enough. I am deeply saddened by his loss but am extremely proud of him. He is sorely missed. I wish his family the best and want them to know he, and they, are in my and my wife's prayers."
GMC (Ret) Mark Erwin of Winchester, Ca

"My deepest sympathy to de family left behind.
Erik Staffeldt, DK
PS: Might Erik ba in family af John S. Kristensen??"
Erik Staffeldt of Denmark

"There is no way we can repay or thank you and your family enough for your contributions. We all need to make our families and friends know of your great contributions. We are blessed. God Bless you and all that love you"
Doug Murray of San Juan Capistrano, CA

"Admiral and Mrs. Kristensen,

My deepest sympathy on the loss of your son.

Sailor, rest your oar."
Linda Hamlett, Marine Mom, of Georgetown, TX

"Admiral and Mrs. Kristensen,

I heard about Erik on the news this morning and was very deeply touched. You see, Erik and I sat next to each other in the band every day for two years at Kinnick High School in Japan. I knew him very well and he was an intelligent, talented and wonderful guy. I can only imagine what you are going through. I'm truly sorry for your loss, for our country's loss, but I hope that it is some measure of comfort to you that Erik served his country admirably, setting a shining example for others to follow. He is an American hero and his sacrifice will never, ever be forgotten. God bless you and yours."
Michael Hoffmeyer of Memphis, TN

"To Erik's Family, I wish to extend my sincere condolences to you for the loss of your Erik. Erik is a true American Hero, who will always be remembered and honored. May God Bless all of you."
Mary Ghaney of Brooklyn, New York

"Admiral Ed and Sam,
Our hearts are broken for you both and we mourn the loss of your beloved Erik. We're honored with your friendship and love. Your loss is shared by all of us. You're in our thoughts and prayers. Stay strong."
Tammy and John Epes of Roanoke, VA/USA

"Erik I only knew you a short time, but in that time I saw a brave, handsome, smart, witty, loyal and loving man who did not deserve to be taken so soon. You will be remembered always, and as a friend of your girlfriend, Susannah, I promise to help her through this terrible grief and remind her of the plans you had to live your life with purpose and honor, and believe me she will do it for the both of you. Heaven is a better place with you in it, of that I am sure. Condolences to all who knew and loved you."
Steffi K of Eden Prairie, MN

"Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. -John 15:13

Erik, your sacrifce will never be forgotten. God bless you, sir.

Admiral and Mrs. Kristensen, you were my CO on CG-57. You probably won't remember me, but I'll never forget you. It was the highest honor to serve with you, sir. You have my deepest condolences. May your pain pass quickly and your memories never fade.
God bless you both."
Edward Trigloff (STG3) of Tucson, AZ

"To the Family:

I express my deepest sorrow. My brother 1st Class Petty Officer Brian J. Ouellette was with SEAL Team 2 and he was taken on May 29th 2004. I know he has his brothers with him now. May GOD BLESS you and keep you until then.
Mike Ouellette
Uxbridge, MA"
Michael Oullette of Uxbridge, MA

"Erik will never be forgotten!"
Marine Wife of Ohio


"To Erik'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 son returned safely from Afghanistan, only to lose his life in Iraq. Our prayers are with you in this most difficult time and we thank you for your soldier's bravery and sacrifice. Our sons are true heroes!

By His Grace,

Gloria Caldas
Proud Mother of Fallen Hero
Capt. Ernesto "The Big Ern" Blanco-Caldas
82nd Airborne, KIA Iraq 12/28/2003
San Antonio, Texas

"You were one of the rare ones. A true "Man for Others". We will miss you, Spider."
Mike Brodnik of Washington, DC

Please KNOW so many people share your sadness, and we are remembering your family in your loss and your deep grief. Your HERO, Erik will be remembered by name. Our thoughts and prayers are with you. God Bless you ALWAYS. Pat & Sandi Breckenridge from Montana "

US Navy Sailor

"Thank you Erik Kristensen, 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 Lt. Cmdr. Erik Kristensen:
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 Erik 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 Lt. Cmdr. Erik Kristensen:
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 Erik, 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