William S Ricketts
February 27, 2010
Killed in Bala Murghab, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when insurgents attacked his unit with small arms fire.
|Soldier who joined Army after 9/11 dies in Afghanistan
By Holbrook Mohr
The Associated Press
JACKSON, Miss. — William “Seth” Ricketts wanted to be a soldier ever since he was a little boy, and when terrorists attacked the United States on Sept. 11, 2001, he joined the Army the next day.
Ricketts was on his fifth tour of duty and looking forward to getting home for the birth of his third child when he was killed Saturday in Afghanistan, his father said.
The 27-year-old staff sergeant from the tiny town of Glen, near Corinth in north Mississippi, was fighting with the 82nd Airborne Division when he died in a battle with insurgents near Bala Murghab, Afghanistan, the Department of Defense and his family said.
“He wanted to be in the military since he was nine years old and had been talking to a recruiter,” said his father, Bill Ricketts. “On Sept. 12 he signed up. He came home and said he was going to protect his county and to keep that kind of stuff from happening to his family. He would rather take the fight to their soil.”
Ricketts is the father of two boys — 3-year-old Aiden and 10-month-old Cullen. His third child is due this summer, soon after Ricketts was scheduled to come home. He and his wife, Rosie Jones Ricketts, didn’t know if they were having a boy or a girl and had not picked out a name. But the family affectionately calls the child “peanut” as a nickname, Bill Ricketts said.
“The thing he loved most was being with his wife and children,” the elder Ricketts said, adding that he also enjoyed hunting and camping and being in nature.
Ricketts was home for the births of his first two children, but deployed soon afterward. This time, he was looking forward to being home during the first part of his child’s life.
Ricketts joined the Army after attending Alcorn Central High School in Glen. He was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 508th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division, Fort Bragg, N.C.
He spent two tours in Iraq, and this was the third in Afghanistan, his father said.
“He was an exemplary soldier and the men that were under him praised his work and his leadership,” the soldier’s father said. “He put his men before his own life. That’s just who he was.”
Ricketts’ awards and decorations, too numerous to list here, include the Army Commendation Medal, the Afghanistan Campaign Medal and the Iraqi Campaign Medal.
“Staff Sgt. William Seth Ricketts was a man with great values, dedication, and love like no other for his family and country,” 1st Lt. Christopher Kirchner, Ricketts’ platoon leader, said in a news release. “Battle Company will continue to honor his memory on and off the battlefield. You will be truly missed brother, and we love you.”
The Mississippi House of Representatives adjourned Monday from its daily activities in Ricketts’ honor.
At least 72 soldiers with Mississippi ties have died in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, according to an Associated Press count.
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