LCDR Erik S. Kristensen, was born at Portsmouth Naval Hospital, Portsmouth, Virginia on March 15, l972. As a Navy junior he attended many schools before graduating from Gonzaga College High School in Washington, D.C., in 1990, Phillips Academy in Andover, Massachusetts in 1991, and from the United States Naval Academy, in 1995.
After graduating with honors from the United States Naval Academy he reported to the USS Chandler (DDG 996) in Everett, Washington, as the Fire Control Officer. Next he served at Special Boat Team Twelve in Coronado, California as the Officer in Charge of a Rigid Hull Inflatable Boat Detachment. He then began teaching English at the United States Naval Academy in 1999 and also attended graduate school at St. John’s College in Annapolis, Maryland, before accepting a transfer to Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL training in Coronado, California where he graduated with BUDS Class 233. From there he reported for duty to SEAL Team Eight, and then to SEAL Team 10 as Officer-In-Change of a Platoon. In March of 2005, LCDR Kristensen deployed as a Task Unit Commander at SEAL Team Ten to Afghanistan to support the Naval Special Warfare community prosecution of the Global War on Terrorism.
Erik Kristensen had a great love of the arts, literature and music. He played the trumpet and was 1st chair and concert master in high school, played football and lacrosse and rowed heavy weight varsity crew at the United States Naval Academy. The Naval Academy and Gonzaga College High School have honored him with a rowing shell bearing his name. He spoke French and was selected as an Olmstead Foundation Scholar and planned to begin study at the Institute for Political Studies in Paris, France in 2006. The program allows for a select few service members to study abroad for two years. He had an outgoing personality and continued a life full of sports, skiing, and surfing. He is remembered as an intelligent leader who earned the respect
of his men and his senior officers. He succeeded everywhere he served. He was a leader who listened to the advice of his men and always took care of them. He lived by always learning and died by placing the well-being of all ahead of himself.
On the lighter side of Erik he was known as “Special K” to many who served with him and was known for making every watch interesting from quoting the UCMJ to discussing Shakespeare or Melville. He could also be found at the end of the night at a karaoke bar bringing down the house with his rendition of Purple Rain …..in perfect SEAL style……you never see it coming!
He was leading a mission to rescue other SEALs on June 28, 2005 when his MH-47 Chinook helicopter was shot down by Afghan insurgents in Konar Province. All 16 Army and Navy personnel on board the MH-47
During his service Erik Kristensen was awarded the Bronze Star Medal (with “V” for Valor), Purple Heart, Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal (3 awards), Navy Marine Corps Achievement Medals (2 awards), Combat
Action Ribbon, National Defense Service Medals (2 awards), Afghanistan Campaign Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Expeditionary Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Sea Service Deployment Ribbons
(2 awards), Expert Rifle Medal, and Expert Pistol Medal.