Operation Iraqi Freedom, Fallen Heroes, Iraq War 03/19/03

Erik C Kesterson

Independence, Oregon

November 15, 2003

Age Military Rank Unit/Location
29 Army CWO

9th Battalion, 101st Aviation Regiment, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault)

Fort Campbell, Kentucky

Killed when two 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters crashed in Mosul, Iraq.



AP News

Clayton Kesterson speaks of his son with a deliberate, halting delivery, his voice breaking occasionally.

Erik C. Kesterson, who grew up mostly in Vernonia and later moved to Independence, was the pilot of a Black Hawk helicopter that collided with another over Mosul, Iraq, on Nov. 15. He had served an eight-year stint with the Marines before leaving, then enlisted in the Army after Sept. 11.

"We can't measure the cost of it," Kesterson says of his son's death, "but it's not for the people over there; it's for the whole world."

Erik and Clay Kesterson built World War I biplane replicas. When Clay feels up to flying again, he plans to fly over the cemetery where Erik is buried, a mile and a half from their Independence home, and drop some roses. His wife, Mary, will be on the ground to place the flowers on the grave.

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