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Erik S. Kristensen March 15, 1972(1972-03-15) – June 28, 2005(2005-06-28) (aged 33)[1] Place of death Afghanistan Allegiance United States of America Service/branch United States Navy Years of service 1995 - 2005 Rank Lieutenant Commander Unit SEALs Battles/wars Operation Enduring Freedom Operation Red Wings War in Afghanistan Awards Bronze Star with Valor device[1] Purple Heart Navy & Marine Corps Commendation Medal (3) Navy & Marine Corps Achievement Medal (2) Combat Action Ribbon National Defense Service Medal (2) Afghanistan Campaign Medal Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal Global War on Terrorism Service Medal Sea Service Ribbons (2) Erik S. Kristensen (March 15, 1972 – June 28, 2005) was a Lieutenant Commander in the United States Navy SEALs who was killed in action during Operation Red Wings. He and several other SEALs set off as part of a search and rescue mission, hoping to assist a four man SEAL team that was engaged in a firefight with Taliban fighters. Contents 1 Biography 2 Operation Red Wings 3 In mourning 4 Erik Kristensen Eye Street Klassic 5 References 6 External links Biography Kristensen was born into a military family. His father is Edward Kristensen, a career officer in the United States Navy who rose to the rank of rear admiral.[2] As son to a military father, Erik Kristensen traveled widely with his family as a child, living in places including Japan, Guam and Washington, D.C.. He graduated from Gonzaga College High School in Washington, D.C., in 1990 and continued his education at Phillips Academy, Andover, MA before he moved onto the U.S. Naval Academy where he majored in English. After graduation in 1995, he was commissioned an ensign and served in the engineering department of the USS Chandler in Everett, Washington. Kristensen attended the Graduate Institute at St. John's College, in Annapolis, Maryland, while he taught English at the U.S. Naval Academy. He left both his graduate studies and teaching at the Academy to pursue Navy SEAL training. At age 27, his dream of becoming a Navy SEAL came to fruition. He was the oldest in his class to graduate from the program.[2] Operation Red Wings Main article: Operation Red Wings On June 28, 2005, SEAL Team 10 was assigned to a mission to kill or capture Ahmad Shah (nom de guerre Mohammad Ismail), a high-ranking Taliban leader responsible for Taliban operations in eastern Afghanistan and the Hindu Kush mountains.[3] The SEAL team was made up of Marcus Luttrell, Michael P. Murphy, Danny Dietz and Matthew Axelson.[3] Luttrell and Axelson were the team's snipers; Dietz was the communications officer and Murphy the team leader. The four SEALs stumbled upon local Taliban forces and within an hour, they were engaged in an intense gun battle against a force of more than 150 enemy fighters.[4] Murphy risked his life to get off an emergency message to his command. Upon hearing the cry for help a MH-47 Chinook helicopter was dispatched with a force consisting of SEALs including Kristensen and 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment "Nightstalkers" to rescue the team, but the helicopter was shot down by an RPG. All 16 men on the Chinook, including Kristensen, were killed.[5] The battle was later called "the worst single day loss of life for Naval Special Warfare personnel since World War II."[6] In interviews the Taliban leader Ahmad Shah (Taliban) maintained that his forces had set a trap for the American forces: "We certainly know that when the American army comes under pressure and they get hit, they will try to help their friends. It is the law of the battlefield."[7] In mourning Days after Kristensen's death was announced, California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger released a statement stating his deepest condolences to his family and friends and announcing that flags at the California State Capitol would be flown at half-staff in his honor.[8] His mother told the press that Kristensen would be buried in his Birkenstock sandals.[9] Kristensen is buried in the U.S. Naval Academy Cemetery. Erik Kristensen Eye Street Klassic A charity, the LCDR Erik S. Kristensen ‘90, USN, Memorial Scholarship Fund, was created in Kristensen's honor after his death. The fund seeks to assist a Gonzaga College High School student whose family serves in the U.S. armed forces. Every year an event called the Erik Kristensen Eye Street Klassic is held to raise money for the scholarship fund.[10] References ^ a b "Erik S. Kristensen". navy seals. 2008. http://www.navyseals.com/erik-s-kristensen. Retrieved 2008-12-14.  ^ a b Lengel, Allan (July 6, 2005). "Navy SEAL From the District Died Leading Rescue Mission". Washington Post. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/07/06/AR2005070600057.html. Retrieved 2008-12-14.  ^ a b Naylor, Sean D. (2007-06-18). "Surviving SEAL tells story of deadly mission". Army Times. http://www.armytimes.com/news/2007/06/navy_sealbook_070618w/. Retrieved 2008-07-21.  ^ "Interview with Luttrell". Pritzker Military Library. May 19, 2008. http://www.pritzkermilitarylibrary.org/events/2008-05-19-marcus_luttrell.jsp. Retrieved 2008-12-10.  ^ "Interview with Matt Lauer". Today Show. June 12, 2007. http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/19189482/. Retrieved 2008-12-10.  ^ "Navy SEAL to be awarded Medal of Honor". navy.mil. 10/11/2007. http://www.navy.mil/search/display.asp?story_id=32528. Retrieved 2008-12-20.  ^ Lisa Myers & the NBC Investigative Unit (December 27, 2005). "An interview with a Taliban commander". msnbc. http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/10619502/. Retrieved 2008-12-10.  ^ "Gov. Schwarzenegger Issues Statement on Death of San Diego Navy Officer: Lt. Cmdr. Erik S. Kristensen". Schwarzenegger. 7/05/2005. http://gov.ca.gov/press-release/1759/. Retrieved 2008-12-14.  ^ "Navy SEAL from San Diego killed in Afghanistan". Associated Press. 2007. http://www.militarycity.com/valor/954885.html. Retrieved 2008-12-14.  ^ "kristensen klassic". kristensenklassic.com. 2008. http://kristensenklassic.com/index.php. Retrieved 2008-12-14.  External links Erik Samsel Kristensen at Find A Grave accessed 2-20-2010 Erik Kristensen Eye Street Klassic Persondata Name Kristensen, Erik Alternative names Short description Date of birth March 15, 1972 Place of birth Date of death June 28, 2005 Place of death Afghanistan