WICHITA, KS, US
SSG, CO B, 1ST BN, 2D SQD, 2D CAVALRY, SBCT, VILSECK, GERMANY
01/05/2011, FOB TARIN KOT, AFGHANISTAN
Army Staff Sergeant Eric M. Nettleton died January 5, 2011 serving during Operation Enduring Freedom. The twenty-six year old was from Wichita, Kansas. He was assigned to 1st Squadron, 2nd Stryker Cavalry Regiment, Vilseck, Germany. Staff Sergeant Nettleton was part of the oldest continuously serving regiment in the U.S. Army — the 2nd Stryker Cavalry Regiment. Nicknamed the Dragoons, the regiment formed in 1836. He was a member B Troop, 1st Squadron. Staff Sergeant Nettleton succumbed to wounds suffered in Dehjawz-e Hasanzay when insurgents attacked his unit with an improvised explosive device. His unit was working out of Forward Operating Base Tarin Kowt, Afghanistan. Staff Sergeant Nettleton also served at West Point as part of the prestigious honor and color guard to the academy.
Eric and his wife Ashley were like magnets: connected no matter the distance. She recalled the first time she met Eric. A mutual friend introduced them at a football game. At the time, he was shy, and he asked his best friend, “What if she doesn’t like me?” Ashley said. The magnetic connection was obvious to others. So much so that her mother turned to her and told her that Eric would be the man she would someday marry. “I told her that she was crazy,” Ashley recalled. They married December 23, 2009 surrounded by family and friends at Sedgwick County Courthouse.
Eric Nettleton attended All Saints Catholic School and Hamilton Middle School and graduated from Wichita West in 2003. The Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks inspired him to join the Army, said his brother Clayton Nettleton, who serves in the Air Force. He notes that his brother just seemed destined and matched for Army service. Eric was known for his gung-ho outlook and enjoyed impersonating Sylvester Stallone in his “Rambo” character. He is also remembered by his father as being quite a lucky fisherman as he seemed always to catch something and most impressively catching walleye out of the Arkansas River in the middle of August. During a mid-tour break around Thanksgiving, Eric and his wife visited home from their assigned area in Germany.
Eric’s bright spirit is remembered for his ability to warm up a room with his presence, greet many with a hug rather than a handshake, and provide love and guidance to the soldiers who so much enjoyed and respected his leadership.