Memorial service honors Vilseck soldier killed in Afghanistan
January 12, 2011
VILSECK, Germany — Staff Sgt. Eric M. Nettleton was known as a soldier who put the safety of the other men in his platoon ahead of his own.
On Jan. 5 he was killed by a hidden bomb while moving ahead of his patrol to clear a section of road in Uruzgan province, Afghanistan, said Lt. Col. Douglas Sims, 1st Squadron, 2nd Stryker Cavalry Regiment commander.
Sims, whose remarks from Afghanistan were read at a memorial ceremony for Nettleton, 26, at Rose Barracks Cavalry Chapel in Vilseck on Wednesday, said the young soldier from Wichita, Kan., was killed approaching a culvert while escorting explosive ordnance disposal troops.
“Staff Sgt. Nettleton dismounted and moved forward without hesitation to clear the road for the remainder of the element,” Sims said. “It was a task he had accomplished many times before … at the risk of personal injury but … for the benefit of … brothers on the left and right.”
Sims said he spoke to Nettleton’s widow, Ashley, on the telephone after his death. “Staff Sgt. Nettleton knew precisely where his real strength was derived,” he said. “It was from Ashley. Her resilience and kindness on the telephone increased my resolve when it was I who should have given her strength.”
Sgt. Justin Henderson, whose remarks were read at the ceremony, was a comrade of Nettleton’s in Afghanistan and described his friend as a great family man.
“He just celebrated his first anniversary,” Henderson said. “He was as proud of his wife as she was of him.”
Remarks by Nettleton’s acting company commander in Afghanistan, 1st Lt. Alex Triplett, were also read at the ceremony.
Triplett, who is acting commander of Company B, 1st Squadron, 2nd SCR, recalled the extra time Nettleton took to train his soldiers before they deployed.
“Whoever he was talking to, he was sincere, friendly and opinionated on every subject,” he said.
Triplett described Nettleton as strong-willed, calm under pressure, selfless and dedicated to his soldiers, peers and leaders.
“He would always assume the risk to look out for the soldiers in his platoon,” he said.
After the attack 1st Squadron soldiers detained an individual likely responsible for emplacing the bomb that killed Nettleton, Triplett said.
Nettleton is also survived by his parents, James and Sandy Nettleton.