January 6, 2011
The latest Kansas casualty in the war in Afghanistan is 26-year-old Sgt. Eric Nettleton of Wichita.
Nettleton graduated from Wichita West High School in 2003. He reportedly died Wednesday in Afghanistan when an IED detonated near him while he was on patrol.
Those who knew Nettleton say the world has lost a great man too early.
"Pride isn't even the word [strong enough] to describe what you are, because you are so grateful, so indebted, so in awe that this man did this," said one of Nettleton's friends and former classmates, Amanda Buckner.
Nettleton is described as a quiet but funny person, who was above all, kind.
"Very kind... very very kind. Would have helped you do anything," said one of his former teachers, Susan Schoket.
26-year-old Nettleton played football at West High School. He also made a lasting impact on those who knew him.
"He was just a wonderful young man and believed in service, and would do anything for anybody," said Schoket.
Family members say Nettleton was recently married, leaving behind his wife, parents, a sister, and a brother, who is also serving the military.
"Wherever he is I hope he's in a better place and I hope he knows that I truly appreciate the sacrifice that he and his family have made for our country and for our children," said Buckner.
It's a sacrifice those who new Nettleton say, came too soon.
"To read that he was gone, just, it shakes you. It makes you feel like you didn't do enough I guess, didn't say enough," said Buckner.
"It just breaks my heart. And I guess that's the way things go sometimes, but the world lost somebody pretty special," said Schoket.
Now those who knew him are left with the memory of the man they say had the sweetest of spirits, and a contagious smile.
"He really was a hero because he did something he didn't have to do, and like I said, I will always be grateful for that," said Buckner.
In addition to serving in Afghanistan, Nettleton had also served in Iraq. Family members say his immediate family is in the process of bringing him home from Dover Air Force Base.
Family members confirm Wichita native Army Sgt. Eric Nettleton was killed this week, serving in Afghanistan.
Sgt. Nettleton was on patrol when his vehicle was hit with an IED.
Nettleton graduated from West High School in 2003. Family members say he was recently married.
Nettleton's parents and sister reportedly still live in Wichita, but are currently on their way to Dover Air Force Base to make arrangements to bring him back to Wichita. Nettleton also has a brother who is currently serving in the military.
Services have not been scheduled.
Statement from Rep. Mike Pompeo;
“I am deeply saddened to hear about the death of Sergeant Nettleton. He proudly served his country and laid down his life with honor to protect our freedoms. He is an American hero. My thoughts and prayers are with the Nettleton family and friends who have suffered this tremendous loss.”