“Boulder City and the state of Nevada lost a true hero,” Gronquist said. “His sacrifice and love of country will not be forgotten.”
A small-town boy from Nevada, Eric Shane Patton, 22, looked up to his father, James, who had served as a Navy SEAL, a member of an elite special operations unit.
Three years ago, Petty Officer 2nd Class Patton enthusiastically took on the rigorous training to become a SEAL, said friends. He was the only one of his three brothers to follow his father. Stationed at Pearl Harbor, Patton shipped out for Afghanistan in April.
Yesterday, Brandon Tretton remembered Patton, his best friend since ninth or 10th grade: “He wanted to be a SEAL, and he wanted to be the best. His father was a SEAL, and he figured if he joined the armed forces, he would go all the way and be the best.”
Patton, of Boulder City, Nev., was one of three Hawaii-based Navy SEALs among 16 troops who were killed during combat operations last Tuesday when their MH-47 helicopter crashed under enemy fire in the area of Asadabad, Afghanistan, in Kunar province. The military said the crash was the deadliest single blow to American forces in Afghanistan since the Taliban were ousted in 2001.