By Lena Mitchell/NEMS Daily Journal
GLEN – A Glen soldier who joined the military a day after the 9/11 terrorist attack has become the first Northeast Mississippian to die in Afghanistan.
The Department of Defense announced that Army Staff Sgt. William S. “Seth” Ricketts, 27, died Saturday in Bala Murghab when insurgents attacked his unit with small arms fire.
“He wanted to be in the military since he was 9 years old and had been talking to a recruiter,” said his father, Bill Ricketts, who lives in Glen.
It was on the day after the 9/11 attacks that the younger Ricketts made his career decision.
“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 and his wife, Susanna, had two boys – 3-year-old Aiden and 10-month-old Cullen. Their third child is due this summer, soon after Ricketts was scheduled to come home.
Ricketts was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 508th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team of the 82nd Airborne Division at Fort Bragg, N.C.
The much-decorated paratrooper was serving in his fifth combat deployment – twice to Iraq and three times to Afghanistan.
“Staff Sgt. William Seth Ricketts was a man with great values, dedication and love like no other for his family and country,” said 1st Lt. Christopher Kirchner, Ricketts’ platoon leader.
“I feel honored and privileged to have served with this true warrior.”
In addition to his wife, children and father, he is survived by his mother, Sandra Ricketts of Glen.
Ricketts enlisted in the Army as an infantryman and completed his first level of training at Fort Benning, Ga., before continuing training at Fort Bragg.
Ricketts’ awards and decorations include the Army Commendation Medal with two Bronze Oak Leaf Clusters, the Army Achievement Medal with a Bronze Oak Leaf Cluster, the Army Good Conduct Medal, the National Defense Service Medal, the Afghanistan Campaign Medal with two Campaign Stars, the Iraqi Campaign Medal with three Campaign Stars, the Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, the Global War on Terrorism Medal, the Noncommissioned Officer Professional Development Ribbon, the Army Service Ribbon, the Overseas Service Ribbon, the NATO Medal, the Combat Infantryman Badge and the Parachutist Badge with Combat Star.
Final arrangements were pending.
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, but Ricketts is the first from Northeast Mississippi to be killed in Afghanistan.
Contact Lena Mitchell at 287-9822 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Holbrook Mohr of The Associated Press contributed to this story.