Fallen Heroes of Operation Iraqi Freedom

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

Army CWO Erik C. Kesterson

29, of Independence, Oregon.
Kesterson died when two 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters crashed in Mosul, Iraq. He was assigned to the 9th Battalion, 101st Aviation Regiment, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), Fort Campbell, Kentucky. Died on November 15, 2003.

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This is a memorial page for CWO Erik C. Kesterson. This is not a political forum nor Dolores Kesterson's personal message board. Any messages not directly related to CWO Erik Kesterson are inappropriate for this website and will be removed or edited.

"The time we spent as Gunfighters between 96-01 was full of good memories. Learned a lot from him about the Hueys. Great guy, Crew Chief, and Marine!!! I still remember stopping and helping you out when your bike broke down. Thanks for the memories and till we meet again! Rest easy Brother!!!!"
Dave Reed Sgt/USMC of Hartwell, Ga

"CWO Kesterson,
On today, the 13th anniversary of your death you still honored and remembered. I would just like to say thank you for your service and sacrifice for our Country. And to your Family and loved ones, I wish to extend my deepest sympathy.

Semper Fi Devil Dog!"

"I'm not sure why I'm just now writing something here. I never got to see you again after visiting you while you were in between the Marine Corps and the Army. I'm glad we were able to have such a good time that last time. Many memories and much love brother. I'll come see you again sometime."
Zack Banks of Vancouver, Wa

"To CWO Erik Kesterson, we have never met, but I want you to know that the OR Legislature plans to honor you next month with HCR 203 for your devotion to duty and your protective heart of our Nation. Thank you."
And y Olson, Rep. of Albany, OR

"Eric was Killed In Action while assigned to B Company 9-101 Phantoms. This company has a logo with 4 Stars in a night sky as part of its back round. These stars represent fallen Phantoms. Eric is the fourth Star. The original unit was moved from the `101st to 3rd ID and renamed the Black Hearts prior to OIF 3. I was on post today at Hunter Army Airfield. The Black Hearts still have the logo and the Stars. Eric in a small way is still among Brave and Crazy Aviators.
May 2015"
CPT Kevin Hughes of Ft Stewart GA

"You were like a big brother to us."
Rachel Lee of McMinnville.

"Erik was one of my first students (as a Marine Corps helicopter mechanic). Later I gave him my Staff chevrons when he got promoted to Staff. Great man, and a loss for the American community as a whole. Best wishes to his family on this Memorial Day 2012."
GySgt Paul Cowhick of Bozeman, Mt

"On this Memorial Day Weekend and Always....Eric, you are always remembered and never forgotten! May 2012"
Jennifer Lazar of Frisco, TX

"We miss you so much. You are in our thoughts today and always. We thank you everyday for your service, my friend."
Sean and Kelli Peters of Vancouver WA

"I worked with Erik for awhile in McMinnville. He wanted to learn his job as a salesperson. He never seemed to meet a stranger. Always smiling and upbeat. I heard that he went back in the military after 9-11. I had also found memories about him on a USMC forum. His nickname there was Kestergeek. He is among a lot of very honorable people now. May he always fly!"
Jerry Sullivan of Oregon

"Miss you much."
Kelli Peters, wife of Sean Peters of Vancouver WA

"It's been a long time since Mosul. One day I will be able to write more.

"If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds' worth of distance run -
Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it,
And - which is more - you'll be a Man my son!"

Erik was a Phantom he is and will be in my thoughts always."
Phantom 16 of Ft Leonard Wood

"It's April 12, 2010, I just found out about Erik's passing, and cannot get over the shock. I knew him from my time at Marine Helicopter Squadron HMLA-369. His enthusiasm, energy, professionalism, and happy-go attitude are some of the traits I will forever remember Erik having. You put yourself in harm's way and paid the ultimate price so many like myself can enjoy the freedoms this country has to offer. I will forever be grateful to you and those who continue putting their lives in danger to safekeep our freedom. My prayers go to your family; may God rest your soul. Semper Fi, Devil Dog!"
Javier O. Quiles of Sunrise, FL

"I am sorry for your loss, Kristine sent me to your page. I wan't to thank Erik for his service to our country, and I will do so in my prayers tonight. I too lost my son PFC Kenneth Sickles 1st batallion 7th marine 1st div. weapons in 2004. I know the worst, most hardest pain of loosing a child. You and your family are in my prayers."
Joyce Lacy of Oakesdale, Washington/Whitman

"May God Bless you all. I am so sorry for your loss."
Leila Shipman of Texas

"I was in Iraq at the same time and my family was shocked and began to cry when they heard of his death. At first the shock was for me because my name is Eric D. Kesterson and they thought it was me, but soon it was clear that the spelling was different. This is not a joke and I hope that God blesses all who know him and his family. I hope that somehow we are related because he seems to really be loved and is a hero in my eyes. I was with 586th maintenance in Iraq stationed out of Germany. My prayers are with you all. pepperhorn69@yahoo.com"
Eric D. Kesterson of Richmond IN. USA

"I was in Iraq at the same time and my family was shocked and began to cry when they heard of his death. At first the shock was for me because my name is Eric D. Kestertson and they thought it was me, but soon it was clear that the spelling was different. This is not a joke and I hope that God blesses all who know him and his family. I hope that somehow we are related because he seems to really be loved and is a hero in my eyes. I was with 586th maintenance in Iraq stationed out of Germany. My prayers are with you all. pepperhorn69@yahoo.com"
Eric D. Kesterson of Richmond IN. USA

"we all miss you we were aslike brother you are the hero for all of us thanks for all you have teached me, and the friend ship we had. the late night in the shop, the bomfire parties at my moms. its varyhard to know you are gone its like loosing my brother it took me 3 years before i could talk about anything now i wipe away the tears. we build a club in honor we call it freewheelers,my son still call you uncle erik he's 12 now i have a dauter you would of loved to my wife wishes she had meet you i still have pics of you all over the house you will never be fogoting i love you and miss you. your friend and bro joseph j hammons (joe.j) (www.vernoniafreewheelersclub.com if mom or dad want to get ahold of me )"
joe hammons of vernonia or (usa)

"November 15, 2008
To the family of CWO Erik C. Kesterson:
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 Childers of Carson City, NV

"I miss you, brother. We had some great times together. Thank you for being you. Thank you for everything. I miss you, man. I still ask you for your advice quite often, only now I have to answer for you. I think that those answers, in some way, are still coming from you. I'll never forget you. I'll always miss you and love you like a brother."
Matt Ames of Citrus Heights, CA

"Erik and I were best friends growing up in Santa Clara for many years. We kinda lost touch when I left for the Navy and he for the Marines. I didnt know he was gone before today and it was quite a shock to see this. I wish his family all the best and know he is with god doing great things. God bless you brother."
Paul (Gore) Rezendes of San Diego, Ca

"So it's been a while... you still owe me a 12 pack for moving you and your wife from Oceanside to San Clemente!!! Nasty, you were a mentor, friend and a hero. I miss seeing you wax your bike and piece of crap car with canopy cleaner... Don't know why I didn't post or say anything sooner, I guess I was waiting to be desensitized to all this... I told you not to join the army. I miss you friend... I miss seeing you on night crew and I had respect for you. Even Denny that *... You read this Denny I'm still pissed about my winging! I respect you both... and I hope... na... never mind Nasty. Resepct..."
ho chi of Oceanside, Ca.

"I was honered to serve with Mr Kesterson as short as it was. I was a crew chief in 9-101 when Eric came to us. He was a great pilot and friend, he is always in my prayers and memories."
Irmon Tippy of Clarksville, TN

"To the family and friends of Erik

I did not know Erik, but I have meet him a thousands times. In the faces of the new Marines, the old salts and all in between. The same goes for the newly minted Soldiers.

Their character is what wrote the History of our Nation and her People. Their ability and capacity to give all, by the few for the benefit of the many. The guardians of our Red, White and Blue path though history. Values rooted in their childhoods that have to do with right and wrong and their strong beliefs in Liberty, Justice and Peace for all. The right to have Peace the right to live in Peace and funny as it sounds to fight for peace. When these values are violated they step to the forefront to insure that that Peace is restored for the many again.

People like Erik and others through our history are not born this way, it is something they Learn along the way. Values, Pride, Duty and Honor for ones Nation and people. They carry on their shoulders the freedoms of this Nation and other Nations. They carry the people- their hopes, their dreams, their fears, their way of life, their FREEDOMS. It’s a heavy burden that they carry, these few who serve for the many. Laying it all on the line everyday be it in Iraq, Afghanistan or here at home. It’s just what they do everyday knowing the dangers, knowing what could be asked of them, and knowing the cost to their Families.

For those who take the time to visit here and leave a message. You already know this I’m sure, but for those who come and visit just to see what is being said. I want to say to you this: Erik stood for you, he fought for you and your rights to be a Proud American. To make of your life “What you want to”.

Erik believed from his roots to his skills that it would take men & women like himself to preserve, protect and DEFEND what we have in this Nation. He knew it in every fiber of his being. Erik’s Family and friends knew this about Erik, they love him and miss him terribly. Yet everyday they Honor Erik with the way they live their lives. They STAND as PROUD AMERICANS, and tell people so.

Know I never knew Erik but as I said I have meet him a thousand times. I want to Thank God and the Families of all our Troops in the name of my thirteen Grandchildren who will benefit from what they do to-day and everyday. So that they may live free from the fear of a terrorist attack. I send my Love to Clay & M.J. Kesterson for their priceless gift of Love for their Nation, their love for Erik and their great love of Freedom.

S. R. in Oregon"
S.Robertson of Portland, Oregon

"I still remember the days when I was growing up with Erik and his mom. My sister and I lived across the street from him in Santa Clara Ca. We would go horseback riding with him and his mom. His mom was an avide horse rider and loved to care for them. I will never forget Erik and I am so proud to say that "I new this HERO". God bless you Doe (MOM). I love you and my family and I pray for you... Love Rob Kinney"
Rob Kinney of Roseville, CA USA

"I had the distinct honor and pleasure of serving in the Marine Corps with Erik "Nasty" Kesterson while assigned to HMT-303 at Camp Pendleton, CA. I have thought about him many times since I learned of his unselfish sacrifice on that fateful day. I am deeply moved by his sacrifice, as well as the knowledge of the many lives that he touched. I count myself as one of those many.

To know Erik was to simultaneously like him. His zeal for life and positive attitude was contagious; yet, it was the genuine care that he showed for his "fellow man" that made him endearing. He was both a comrade and a friend, and I consider myself lucky to have known him.

My deepest sympathies and prayers go out to his family. May you find comfort in the knowledge that I will never forget Erik, nor the ultimate sacrifice that he paid for our freedom. He was a brave and courageous soul who epitomized the grand tradition of the Marine Corps. I will forever remember Erik in his green USMC-issue flight suit with that ear-to-ear grin of his. May we all aspire to the example that Erik set for us.

Semper Fidelis, my brother."
Justin Madden (Former SGT, USMC) of Philadelphia, PA

"To the family of:Eric C. Kesterson 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"

"A Fond Tribute Dedication was given on Sunday, the 21st of May, 2006. It was a very wet afternoon but that did not diminish the spirit of the event and the memories shared by all to the memory of Erik Kesterson. We are still in awe of the wonderful tributes spoken by family, friends and loved ones. It was truly a beautiful setting in the Central Park of the Santa Clara Community Center. His monument stands proudly very close by the Veteran's Memorial Monuments located just up the walkway. I pray that the Watchmen will look over this special place and always keep these grounds in good shape for all those who stop to read and recollect just who this fallen soldier was."
Melanie Molle of San Jose, CA USA

"I just saw the video that you have recently produced. It is excellent. Never lose hope or faith. Erik is a hero. Thank you."
Janey Crowe of White Rock, BC, Ca

"Our prayers are with you with the loss of your son. Erik C. Kesterson will be remembered and never forgotten for the kind man and hero that he was. Even though by blood ties we are not related, we are by being Americans. God Speed, soldier."
Robin Kesterson Bailey of Bakersfield, Calif.

"I go to college and we were given an assignment in English Composition to write about those who died in Iraq. Our teacher asked us to pick one name and write our hearts about their story. This is our final project. After reading all the information I have about Erik, I find his story to be amazing. I only wish I could have known him for all the wonderful things said about him. Our teacher says she will put our writings on campus if we so wish for all to see. I hope I can do Erik justice, I would like others to be able to see the kind of person he was and to have others be touched as I have been. If anyone has any stories that I could use please e-mail at jlovaas7@hotmail.com. I want to have his story out."
Jennifer Lovaas of Virginia Beach, Virginia

"I just returned from a Memorial Run on behalf of Erik and the others who passed away in that crash. I have to say the 101st did a wonderful job memorializing these fine soldiers. My best friend, SPC Jeremiah Digiovanni was also killed in that crash. God bless you all, and God bless Erik. He paid the ultimate sacrifice."
Amy M. Hancock of Fort Hood, Texas, USA

"My most profound sympathies to the family of CWO Erik C. Kesterson, who gave his life in the service of his country. I am very proud of Erik and of all of our fallen soldiers and wounded and I will never forget them and what they gave to this country without asking for anything in return. I look forward to the day when his family and friends can see Erik again--as they surely will. I would like to meet him too. I truly hope I do."
Kristin Haggerty of Chicago, IL

"I never met Erik, I was at an event called Eyes Wide Open where they had a pair of boots to represent all the American Soldiers who have lost thier lives in this War. My friend took a picture of the boots representing Eric and I wanted to know more about him. He sounded like a very funny and cool man. I wish I could of met him. To his family and friends I know you will never forget him, he is truly a hero. I wish we were not in this war, but to all that serve may you come home soon, safe, and know that average American's like me pray and respect you for your courage. God bless you all."
Jamie of Los Angeles, Ca



Dear beloved son and my only child; it was one year ago November 15, 2003 since you were killed in action in Mosul, Iraq. You were a rambunctious child and had no fear.
As an adult you became a natural comedian and diplomat and would suprise and amuse me when you would become the parent and I was now the child. Your favorite saying was, "Life is Good." I really miss all those things.
You were military minded from early on and joined the Marines right out of high school. While serving for eight years, you saved seven fellow Marines from a burning helicopter that crashed during a training accident. For that you were awarded the Navy-Marine Corps Medal for Heroism. You tried civilian life for a year but then after September 11, 2001 your patriotism again surged and you re-enlisted, this time in the Army to become a Warrant Officer and fly Blackhawks...a lifelong dream.
You were tapped by the 101st Airborne Assault Division for your flying skills and bravery. You were then deployed to Iraq to become "mission ready."
"All the other pilots noticed your determination, drive, work ethic and commitment to duty." Your instructor pilot wrote to me. "He set a great example of how an Officer and Pilot in the Army should act and perform, and he quickly earned my respect. He will be greatly missed but not forgotten."
You were killed while under fire in the double Blackhawk collision, again there were five survivors from your aircraft but sadly this time you were not one of them. I know your pilot and you as co-pilot were facing the fight for your lives to keep your crippled and spinning Blackhawk from going down nose-in and somehow crash landed on a roof. You were in Iraq only 8 days and this was your first mission.
Life is completely unpredictable and fragile when you are called into harm's way. How quickly you can be gone forever. We will never know how high you could fly and what your future could have been.

I, and your family and friends including: Alphonse and Bernice Cierebiej, Grandparents, Vern and Gail Collins, Uncle and Aunt, Glenn Cierebiej, Uncle and Fiancee, Christine Hogan, will have to live every day with what your future might have been untill we too are all gone.

"Should my end come while I am in flight. Whether brightest day or darkest night. Spare me the pity and shrug off the pain. Secure in the knowledge that I would do it again. For each of us is created to die, within me I know I was born to fly."
"The Wonder of Flight" by Gary Claud Stoker.


"From one devil dog to another, thank you for makin the name proud. I only wish i could have met my fellow marine corps kesterson. Someday we can have a beer together and talk about corps times.
semper fi hard dog
sgt matthew kesterson"
matthew of las vegas, nevada

"Nature's first green is gold
Her hardest hue to hold
Her early leaf's a flower
but only so an hour.
Then leaf subsides to leaf
so Eden sank to grief
so dawn goes down today....
nothing gold can stay
Love and hope to the Kesterson family
Thinking of you Christine."
Kelli Peters of Milwaukie, Oregon

"Erik has been my best frien since we were sophmores at Clackamas High School. When we first met we got into trouble and we never stopped. If it wasn't my parents yelling at us it was his. I was very proud to be his friend. He was always there to help if I needed it. He was always one to make you laugh, nunchucks before school. I was extremely happy for him when he joined the Marines, even though we were only able to cause havic one or twice a year. He was such a friend that my only son is named after him and my son is very proud to tell anyone who listens to him that he is named after such an honorable person who gave his life for his country.
And just like Chris Denney has stated every time I hear a Van Halen song I think of Erik.
Erik is a great man who loved his country and to which we should all aspire to be.
For my Best Friend,
I will miss you always and think of you constantly."
Sean Peters of Portland, OR

"Erik C Kesterson a.k.a. "Nasty". This is the callsign we gave Erik when we served together in the Marine Corps. It was a crazy time back then but, we loved it and spoke of the memories often.
I have been to this website a few times but this is the first time I am leaving a message for my fallen brother. I usually get about five sentences into it and choose not to go on. It's been almost a year and it's still tough. I knew Erik better than almost anyone and he knew me better than anyone. We both served as Marine Corps UH-1N Huey Crewchiefs together and we both moved on to be UH-60 Blackhawk Pilots in the Army. Super Bowl Sunday 2002 Erik showed up to my house in Ft. Rucker with the biggest moving truck towing his hot rod Camaro. It was great to see him again. He was happy to be back in the action. Civilian life didn't suit him very well. It was great to be back together again.
I can remember many times setting in my garage or his discussing Flying, Helicopters, Airplanes, Harleys, cars, trucks, beer, the USMC or whatever else came to mind. Erik was the only guy I knew that had crewed and flew the Huey. That was his T/M/S in flight school and he was proud of it. When we weren't knocking back a few we were usually out shooting (one of our favorite hobbies), pulling a "Pulp Fiction, riding our Harleys, fireworks, or seeing who could go through the biggest mudhole with our trucks. Sometimes we got in over our heads - like the river we were floating in for five hours. Full throttle - that was Erik. One of his motto's was, "If it works it's not stupid." Another motto he had was, "Natural death is for sissies." Erik did have some abstract ideas and ways of doing things. Funny most of the time but surely effective. He had a great manner of putting things into perspective.
I was happy to here Erik was being stationed in Ft. Campbell. Once again we were going to be stationed together. It's good to see the names of so many who knew him and the messages they left for him and his family. He was proud to be in the 101st Airborne (Air Assault) Division. He was stoked to go and fight for the cause in the Middle East. The short time he was there made a big impression on the people that he meet. Erik lived everyday to the fullest. No oppurtunity was ever wasted. To all who reads this, do me a favor and remember my fallen brother everytime you here a Van Halen song. That was his favorite group. One of his claims to fame was that he got strep throat from Sammy Hagar when he handed him the rest of his beer while singing on stage. Van Halen cancelled there next scheduled appearance because Sammy had strep throat. Erik i am proud that you were my friend and even prouder that you called me your friend. I will never forget you or the great times we shared together. Take care brother and I'll see you when I get there. Don't forget to save me a seat at the bar.
Do not stand at my grave and weep
I am not there, I do not sleep
I’m a thousand winds that blow
I am the diamond glint on the snow
I am the sunlight on the ripened grain
I am the gentle autumn’s rain
When you awaken in the mornings hush
I am the swift uplifting rush
Of quiet birds in wicked flight I am the soft star that shines at night
Do not stand at my grave and cry
I am not there; I did not die.
Semper Fi, God Speed, Air Assault"
Chris Denney of 101st Abn Div (ASSLT) Ft. Campbell, KY

"I served in the Marine Corps with Erik. He was one of the ones you wanted to be with because of his personality and his love for life in general. This saddens My heart.
Semper Fidelis to a true Warrior!"
Erik Lacey of Eastpoint , Michigan

"Erik my friend, you will be greatly missed. I will never forget those day's of fun all of us had in Japan. The "Gunfighters" will never forget you. Our deepest sympathies go out to your family. God speed and Semper Fi my friend."
Aaron Perry of Inyokern Ca

"Today (Memorial Day), I represented Erik in a photograph made in Tucson. The photograph is to honor the American soldiers who have fallen in Iraq. The photo does not show faces, only flags, each one of us representing a soldier. I am proud to have stood for Erik."
Chris Tillman of Tucson, AZ

"Eric was the son of one of my closest friends. I have known him since he was a baby. Eric was a terrific young man who had a passion for helicopters. I just wish his life had not been taken in this war. He had so much to give, and so many ways yet to live. He will never be forgotten."
Marilyn Harlan of Fresno, California

"Encouraged to do his best and have faith in our country.

Rest in peace

Inocent, for giving his life

Kind enough to give support to his county."
7th grade classes of Barker Middle School

"Low Flight"

Dedicated to Erik C. Kesterson

Oh, I have slipped the surly bonds of Earth,

And Hovered out of Ground Effect on Semi-Ridgid Blades.

Earthward I've Auto'ed, and met the Rising Brush of Non-Paved Terrain;

And done a thousand things you would never care to.

Skidded and Dropped and Flared Low in the Heat Soaked Roar.

Confined there, I've chased the Earthbound Traffic

And Lost the race due to Insignificant Headwinds.

Forward and up a Little in Ground Effect,

I've Topped the Admirals hedge with drooping turns,

Where never SkyHawk nor even Tomcat Flew.

Shaking and Pulling Collective, I've Lumberd

The Low untresspassed Halls of Victor Airways;

Put out my Hand, and Touched a Tree.

Today Erik you Fly with Angels. Thank you for your Dedication and Sacrifice. "Godspeed Chief..."
Dennis B. Dray MAJ (R) ARNG of Tucson, AZ

"Warrant Officer Kesterson, goodbye soldier and thank you. You are my hero."
Bill of Houston, Texas

"To the family. May God bless you and give you peace knowing the great person that Erik was. And the great sacrifice he made for us all. Our prayers are with you."
Frank Kesterson of Parkersburg, WV

"Mrs. Kesterson,
I read you story in the mercury. I am so sorry about your son. Please feel free to contact me if there is anything I can help you with. I live in San Jose and I am available most times. I know of the deep sorrow of losing a loved one and I don't want you to feel alone. There are people who care.
Cathy Talley
cathy talley of san jose california

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. Pat & Sandi Breckenridge from Montana "

"I tap the bar in memory of my brothers who gave there lives in war, so that I may drink in peace. take care Erik, and godspeed. We shall never forget, for those who dare."
Aaron Hagist of 4th ID Iraq

""OUR special chosen words since day one of finding this site last year...have always been......REST IN PEACE BRAVE SOLDIERS/MARINES/WARRIORS We love you and MAY GOD BLESS you each. Your loved ones are in a beautiful place called Heaven now....When you look up to the sky at night and see the brightest star...it's your hero..shining down on you"
The Taylors USMC of NC

"I was truly saddened by Erik's passing. I was the lead instructor for his Basic Combat Skills training in flight school. Erik was a great guy and was a genuine pleasure to teach. My sincerest condolences to his family and friends. The Army, Marines, and the United States are better for the time he served them."
Pete Moellenberndt of Ft. Rucker, Alabama

"WO1 Erik Kesterson is, was, and always will be a great man. A silent proffesional. A great friend and a fine aviator. I flew with Erik all through flight school. He called us "stick homies." Even after a long day of flying and class, Erik always had time to open up his house, or garage as it turned out, to have a few friends hang out and shoot the breeze. I'm sorry that all of you people out there didn't get the chance to know WO1 Erik Kesterson. He is a remarkable person. And he will be greatly missed. To Clay, MJ, and Christine: I send my love and prayers. Your loss has been felt by many. To WO1 Erik Kesterson: I miss you man. We will fly together again soon. AIR ASSAULT!"
WO1 Chuck Doiron of Camp Robinson, AR

"For the record, I second what Smitty has to say. Erik, you were a great friend through the hell of HHC, Warrant Officer Candidate School, and my long tenure at Ft. Rucker. Your tenacity to achieve great things were a true motivator to someone who needed some help in that area. You will be sorely missed, but I know you're looking down on us, and that's a true comfort. I love ya, brother, and I know we'll meet again."
WO1 Matthew James Reasor of Ft. Rucker, Alabama, soon to be an Army Post near you...

"Erik, hey buddy...I guess the "Big Man" needed your expertise up stairs, I'm sorry to see you go. We had big plans together, Erik and I left flight school at the same time bound for the land of the Screeming Eagle, the 101st Airborn Divsion (AirAssault) and he was so proud to be going to such a prestigous unit that he instilled motivation in me. Erik loved flying and loved the blackhawk, he couldn't wait to learn the mission. We had plans once we returned from Iraq to get a wakeboard boat together. All through flight school, whenever we had time we would take my roommates boat to the lake. Erik and I leaned to wakeboard this last summer and he was "UP" on his first try...after that there was no stopping him. Erik, I still plan on getting our boat..and when I do I'm gonna name it the "NASTY" after your nickname. To my "Gold-Winged" brother, friend, and fellow Army Aviatior on behalf of all your "crew" GodSpeed, Semperfi, and AirAssault! ...Nasty we love ya and you'll be missed!"
Warrant Officer One, Eric O. Smith, BlackHawk Pilot 101st ABN Div (AirAssault) of Ft. Campbell, KY

"Thank you Erik Kesterson, 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

"My deepest sympathy to the family of Erik Kesterson. I never knew him personally,(my friend Charlotte Kennedy told me about this site) but my father trained pilots for the navy during WWII and as an American citizen I feel deeply indebted to the people in the military who keep us safe, and our country strong. May his name be honored forever."
Kristi Jalics of Bath, Ohio

"I was deeply sadden to hear about the loss of Erik C. Kesterson. Not only was it a great loss to the military, but our little community we call home, Independence Oregon. Although I never met him, I will always remember the price he gave for freedom. God bless the loved ones he left behind. I am truely sorry for you great loss."
Sarina Gordon of Hill AFB Utah

"My deepest sympathy to Clayton Kesterson, for the loss of his Son, Erik. I knew his Son as one of my Students at the FRAMP/Crew Chief School, at MCAS Campend. I was with him in the fleet in 303. He was a Fine Marine, and Soldier. May God protect the Men who fly."
Gysgt Wm. R. Miller Jr. (Ret) of Great Bend, KS

"I am so sorry for the loss of your loved one. Such a tragic loss of so many of our men. My prayers are with you ."
Beverly Arnold of Cynthiana,KY

"To the family and friends of CWO Erik Kesterson:
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 CWO Erik Kesterson:
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