Saturday, August 06, 2011

Navy Special Warfare Operator Senior Chief Petty Officer (SEAL) Thomas A. Ratzlaff

Remember Our Heroes

Navy Special Warfare Operator Senior Chief Petty Officer (SEAL) Thomas A. Ratzlaff, 34, of Green Forest, Ark.

Navy Special Warfare Operator Senior Chief Petty Officer (SEAL) Thomas A. Ratzlaff was assigned to an East Coast-based SEAL team.; 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.

Senior Chief Ratzlaff enlisted in the Navy in May 1995. He graduated from Recruit Training Command, Greak Lakes, IL in August 1995. He completed Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL School, Coronado, CA in December 1998. He served in two East Coast based Special Warfare Units from July 2006 to August 2011.

Senior Chief Ratzlaff's awards and decorations include:
Bronze Star Medal for Valor (5)
Purple Heart
Joint Service Commendation Medal
Navy/Marine Corps Commendation Medal
Navy/Marine Corps Achievement Medal (2)
Combat Action Ribbon
Good Conduct Medal (4)
National Defense Service Medal
Presidential Unit Citation
Meritorious Unit Commendation
Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal
Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal
Global War on Terrorism Service Medal
Kosovo Campaign Medal
Afghanistan Campaign Medal
Iraq Campaign Medal
Sea Service Deployment Ribbon (7)
NATO Medal
Rifle Marksmanship Badge
Pistol Marksmanship Badge
Enlisted Surface Warfare Specialist Device
*Star of Military Valor

*Canada's second highest military award for valor, for actions in Afghanistan while supporting Canadian Soldiers. He is only the second American since World War I to be bestowed this honor*

From friends:
August 17, 2011
I served onboard USS KIDD DDG-993 with Tommy from 95 to March 12th 1998, I will NEVER forget the young GM3 that wanted nothing more than to be a SEAL. Tom was one of the most hard working driven people I have ever known. Ive been a Detroit Firefighter for 12 years now. Tom is one of 4 people including myself, DC2 Patrick Moran, and a musician known as Ty Stone, all of us chose a path in life and stuck to it, no matter what the cost. Im proud to have know that GM3...~Jeremy M, Detroit, Michigan

August 14, 2011
With great sadness we have learned that Tom has made the last jump. We will always keep him in good memory and remember him fondly.
Our prayers are with his family. Volker Griesser, GermanyTraditionskompanie Fallschirmjaeger-Regiment 6

August 13, 2011
I pray for your family. I am so sorry for your loss. Tommy and My husband did a platoon at ST2. I remember celebrating at the wedding, and us ladies going out to dinner. The memories although years ago feel like today. May the lord hold the family close giving you comfort and peace. My deepest sympathy to you all. Please know where ever you are, what ever you need, we are ALWAYS here for you all. ~ CherylAnn K, Norfolk, Virginia

Senior Chief Ratzlaff is buried at Arlington National Cemetery.

Senior Chief Ratzlaff is survived by mother, Nancy Ann; wife, Andrea, 2 sons and a daughter (due in November); and sister, Julie. He was preceded in death by his father, Benjamin Arthur Ratzlaff.

Arkansas town lowers flags to half-staff in honor of fallen SEAL
The Associated Press

Thomas Ratzlaff wanted to be a Navy SEAL ever since he was a young boy growing up in Green Forest, Ark.

“He did what he loved and died defending those he loved and those who loved him,” his nephew, Jeff Adams, said as he read a statement from the family.

When Ratzlaff visited his hometown in northwest Arkansas, his late father would bring him by the log cabin restaurant where he ordered an egg, sausage and wheat toast every morning.

“The whole town was proud of him,” said Loree Blackburn, who runs that restaurant.

Now, the community of 2,700 remembers Ratzlaff with flags flying at half-staff.

Ratzlaff, 34, would have been grateful for the outpouring of support for his family, his nephew said. But he “would want the focus to remain on the cause for which he made the sacrifice, not the sacrifice itself.”

He had two sons and a wife expecting their third child — a girl — in November. He also leaves behind a sister and mother.

“As a Navy SEAL team member, my uncle was trained to keep a low profile and to do his job,” Adams said.

Navy Special Warfare Operator Senior Chief Petty Officer (SEAL) Thomas A. Ratzlaff was killed in action on 8/6/11.

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