Erik S. Kristensen

kristensen purple heart bronze star
BUD/S Class:
SEAL Service:
5 years
Lieutenant Commander
San Diego, CA
SEAL Team TEN, Virginia Beach, VA
June 28, 2005
Enduring Freedom (Afghanistan)
Died while conducting combat operations, when the MH-47 helicopter he was aboard on a rescue mission crashed in Kunar Province, Afghanistan.
Bronze Star with Combat “V” for Valor, Purple Heart, Combat Action Ribbon, and Afghanistan Campaign Medal, awarded posthumously.
Other Awards:
Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal (3)

Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal (2)

Combat Action Ribbon

National Defense Service Medal (2)

Afghanistan Campaign Medal

Global War on Terrorism Service Expeditionary Medal

Global War on Terrorism Service Medal

Sea Service Deployment Ribbons (2)

LCDR Kristensen was part of a dedicated team fighting the Taliban, a fundamentalist regime that a U.S.-led coalition knocked from power in Afghanistan in 2001, but has continued to conduct guerilla operations, particularly along the Pakistan border. Kristensen worked to help ensure al Qaeda terrorists could not train in, nor launch strikes from Afghanistan since their lethal attack on the World Trade Center in New York on September 11, 2001.Erik Kristensen graduated with honors from the U.S. Naval in 1995. He served first as an officer in the Fleet, whose tours included assignment as Officer in Charge of a Rigid Hull Inflatable Boat Detachment at Naval Special Warfare Boat Unit TWELVE (SBT-12).

Kristensen subsequently taught at the Naval Academy and attended graduate school prior to transferring to BUD/S. His first assignment was as Officer In Charge of a SEAL Platoon at SEAL Team EIGHT. In March 2005, Kristensen deployed to Afghanistan as a Task Unit CDR for SEAL Team TEN to support the U.S. Global War on Terror.

On June 28, 2005, LCDR Kristensen led a daring mission to rescue a four-man SEAL reconnaissance squad engaged in a fierce firefight with overwhelming Taliban forces in rugged 10,000 foot mountains. Kristensen, seven other SEALs, and and eight Army “Nightstallker” commandos died in the heroic attempt when their MH-47D Chinook helicopter crashed after it was shot down by a rocket-propelled grenade.

LT Michael Murphy, Matthew Axelson, and Danny Dietz fought on courageously, enabling a fourth SEAL in their squad to escape, before they were killed in the firefight by overwhelming Taliban forces with superior firepower.

A total of 11 SEALs died that day in the Global War against Terror. It was the biggest single loss of life for Naval Special Warfare forces since World War II. To a man, these SEALs embodied the Navy’s core values of Honor, Courage and Commitment, and took care of their teammates to the last. Erik Kristensen is remembered with the greatest respect and gratitude by his fellow SEALs, the Navy, and our nation.

Memorials: Fellow service members remember Erik Kristensen as an intelligent and selfless leader with whom it was an honor to serve. He was easy-going and smiling, yet also extremely respectful, dutiful, and professional. He was a good man, and a good friend, who succeeded everywhere he served.