- 34 years old
- Date of birth: Nov 3, 1976
- Date of passing: Aug 6, 2011
|Let the memory of SCPO Thomas be with us forever|
34, of Green Forest, Ark.; assigned to an East Coast-based SEAL team.; died Aug. 6 in Wardak province, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when the CH-47 Chinook helicopter in which he was riding was shot down.
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 hisjob,” Adams said.
"We still miss you Rat, Johnny is still gone and you are always in his mind. Jonathan got his first tatoo, he got it for you. You would be proud of what it says. 15 years later and he still remember eating you peanuts from your cage. This world is poorer without you in it. Look down on the boys, and Johnny and protect them (him). All our Love."
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