Saturday, August 06, 2011

Navy Special Warfare Operator Petty Officer 2nd Class (SEAL) Nicholas P. Spehar

Remember Our Heroes

Navy Special Warfare Operator Petty Officer 2nd Class (SEAL) Nicholas P. Spehar, 24, of St. Paul, Minn.

Navy Special Warfare Operator Petty Officer 2nd Class (SEAL) Nicholas P. Spehar was assigned to a West Coast-based Naval Special Warfare unit; died Aug. 6, 2011 in Wardak province, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when the CH-47 Chinook helicopter in which he was riding was shot down.

Petty Officer Spehar, the second of five children, was a leader by example, a tireless worker, and an elite warrior. He had a deep Catholic faith and lived his life with dedication and integrity.

Petty Officer Spehar graduated from Chisago Lakes High School where he played football, baseball, starred on the swimming team and was an academic letter winner.

Petty Officer Spehar joined the Navy in March of 2007. He graduated Basic Underwater Demolition / SEAL (BUD/s) Training and SEAL Qualification Training with Class 267. Upon checking into SEAL Team FIVE, Spehar deployed to the Philippines in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. He earned the coveted position of Honor Man in both Naval Special Warfare Lead Breacher and Naval Special Warfare Sniper School. Spehar then deployed to Yemen in support of Operation Enduring Freedom and immediately upon his return, volunteered for deployment to Afghanistan.

Principal Dave Ertl said Spehar was a “quiet leader".

“Nick was an active young man, and if he said he was going to do something, he did it,” Ertl said. “I could see him as a Navy SEAL and giving 110 percent to serve his country.”

Ertl said staff members at the school experienced "disbelief, shock and sadness" at the news of his death.

"This is a tragedy," the principal said. "Not only for our country and our state, but also for our smaller community here."

The painful news of Spehar's death is a reminder that events happening thousands of miles away can have an impact at home, Ertl said.

"We need to be supportive of our families and the military men and women," he said. "Whether it's a situation like this or day-to-day service, we need to let them know that we are thankful for their service to our country."

August 19, 2011
Nicholas touched so many...I am proud to carry the military Spehar name- I cannot and will never compare to his service record but love him and his service to our wonderful country! today's service was an honoring tribute to a fine young man.~J. Spehar, Duluth, Minnesota

August 18, 2011
I was a classmate of Nick's. He was a kind person, always so nice to me in class, wonderful smile. He will be missed greatly. Thank you Nick, for your service as a soldier, classmate and friend.~ Alex Zacho, Chisago City, Minnesota

August 18, 2011
You touched our hearts very deeply with your visit to my kids and me earlier this summer. Thank you for your service to our country and the way that you faced the task in front of you to protect us. You are missed and our hearts grieve that we will not see you soon. Yet we know you are near us in the communion of saints. Rest in peace. We love you deeply from our hearts and we are so proud to be related to you.~ Relative, Duluth, Minnesota

August 14, 2011
Lisa, Jake, Luke, and the rest of the Spehar family,
I was so sorry to hear about Nick. Having lost friends and family members during the Viet Nam war, I can tell you that the hurt never goes away. When you least expect it, something will make you think of Nick. As time passes, we do learn to live with that empty spot in our heart. Those of us who have served understand the risks inherent with military service. Thanks to Nick for his service and may God grant you, his loved ones, peace. Thinking of you at this difficult time~LeRoy Brand, Chisago City, Minnesota

Petty Officer Spehar's awards and decorations include:
Army Achievement Medal
Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal (2)
National Defense Service Medal
Iraq Campaign Medal
Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal
Global War on Terrorism Service Medal
Good Conduct Medal
Sea Service Deployment Ribbon
Rifle Marksmanship Medal
Pistol Marksmanship Medal

Petty Officer Spehar is survived by his parents, Annette and Patrick; siblings, Marie, Luke, Jacob and Lisa.

Petty Officer Spehar was laid to rest at Fort Snelling National Cemetery in Minneapolis on Friday, August 19.

Navy Special Warfare Operator Petty Officer 2nd Class (SEAL) Nicholas P. Spehar was killed in action on 8/6/11.

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