ARLINGTON, WA, USA U.S. Navy PO3, COMBAT SERVICE SUPPORT DETACHMENT 36, IWAKUNI AFGHANYA VALLEY, AFGHANISTAN 09/09/2008
Eichmann Strickland had plans.
A Navy corpsman serving in Afghanistan’s Panwar province, Strickland, 23, planned to take the skills and training he had learned and apply them to a life dedicated to helping others. He wanted to be a physician’s assistant after leaving the U.S. Navy. He wanted to join a medical mission to Africa. He wanted to be home for Christmas.
Those plans ended Sept. 9 when Taliban insurgents detonated two anti-tank mines, killing Strickland, an Afghan translator and two Marines, including Lieutenant Nicholas Madrazo of Bothell.
“He gave his all,” said his mother, Yolly Strickland. “A very quiet boy, never in trouble. He always smiled. He was that kind of person.”
Petty Officer 3rd Class Eichmann Strickland was part of the 3rd Brigade Embedded Training Team, 201st Corps that provided the Afghan national army with combat advisers. Strickland was not only patching wounds on Marines and Afghans alike, but also training Afghan soldiers on how to treat their wounded.
Yolly Strickland said treating combat wounds was something he was familiar with. Eichmann Strickland would confide in his cousins in Toronto, stories from the front that were not to reach a mother’s ears — battlefront injuries that required him to perform heroic acts of skill while under fire.
“He never told me what he did, or what he had to do,” Yolly Strickland said. “There were just some things you don’t share with your mom. He knew I couldn’t take it.”
Eichmann Strickland called his mother often, despite the 10-hour time difference, frequently calling her at 4 a.m. before she left for work at Boeing.
” ‘Hi, Mom. Everything’s OK,’ he’d say,” she said. “It was part of our routine.”
She remembered a phone call on Sept. 7. Strickland told his mother about his plans to visit the family home in the Philippines and help “fix it up” — a place where he and his friends from the service could go after the war and enjoy some much-needed rest and relaxation.
Coming home after work days later, she saw a Navy chaplain and a Navy officer outside her house. She knew why they were there.
Strickland’s career as a corpsman flourished in the Navy, allowing him to serve in myriad medical postings that honed his abilities to treat others. While working at Marine Corps Base in Camp Pendleton, Calif., he worked with infants — and then, a year later, he was assisting wounded during live-fire exercises at Camp Fuji, Japan.
He was given the opportunity to receive an early discharge from the Navy in June 2008, which he declined, according to the Navy. Instead, he extended his term of service to go to Afghanistan.
In a message to the family, Eichmann Strickland’s commanding officer communicated the corpsman’s unflinching service to his fellow servicemen and women, treating Afghan soldiers, U.S. Marines and U.S. Army personnel while under fire. They called him “Doc.”