Soldier Honored: Erik S. Kristensen
Hometown: San Diego, California
Branch of Service: Navy
Rank: Lieutenant Commander
Lt. Commander Erik S. Kristensen, 33, of San Diego, California was assigned to SEAL Team 10 based in Virginia Beach, Virginia. He was killed on June 28, 2005 when an MH-47 Chinook helicopter crashed while ferrying personnel to a battle against militants in eastern Afghanistan. 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.
Erik Kristensen graduated from Gonzaga College High School in Washington, D.C. in 1990, and continued his education at Phillips AcademyAndover, Massachusetts before moving on to the U.S. Naval Academy where he majored in English. After graduating in 1995, he was commissioned an and served in the engineering and Combat Systems department of the USS Chandler in Everett, Washington. He 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, one of the oldest in his class, his dream of becoming a Navy SEAL was realized.
Kristensen’s mother said he loved reading Shakespeare and Melville. He lived blocks from the ocean in Virginia Beach and enjoyed being on the water. Kristensen, who spoke French, was selected as an Olmsted Foundation Scholar to study in Paris the following year at the Institute of Political Studies.