Goodbye, Eric.

[Top] Sgt. Eric Williams was a member of C Company, 3-82 General Support Aviation Battalion, 82nd Combat Aviation Brigade, 82nd Airborne Division.

[Bottom] An U.S. Army UH-60M Black Hawk helicopter assigned to 3rd Platoon, The “All American” Dustoff, 82nd Airborne Combat Aviation Brigade, Fort Bragg, N.C., idles on the tarmac prior to take off, Forward Operating Base Shank, Logar province, Afghanistan. (Photo by Specialist Austin Berner, 19 December 2011.) 

(Story by Sergeant First Class Eric Pahon, 25 July 2012.)

FORT BRAGG, N.C. — An 82nd Airborne Division flight medic was killed Monday, 23 July, when the Forward Operating Base he was on came under enemy fire in Logar province, Afghanistan.

Sgt. Eric Williams, 27, of Murrieta, Calif., was in-transit from his duty station in Ghazni Province, Afghanistan to re-deploy to the United States when he was killed. He was assigned to Company C, 3-82 General Support Aviation Battalion, 82nd Combat Aviation Brigade, 82nd Airborne Division.

“Our deepest condolences go out to the entire Williams family during this time of great sadness,” said Col. T.J. Jamison, 82nd Combat Aviation Brigade commander, of Broken Arrow, Okla. “Eric was a valued member of the Task Force Pegasus family, and his memory as a great medic and soldier who always put others before himself will not be forgotten.”

Williams entered the U.S. Army in 2007, completing basic training at Fort Benning, Ga. He completed advance individual training at Fort Sam Houston, Texas, earning military occupational specialty 68W, Healthcare Specialist, later that year.

This was Williams’ second deployment. He previously served a 14-month deployment in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2008-2009 as a combat medic.

“He was always on his game,” said Sgt. Cormac Chandler, a Medevac crew chief who served with Williams, and native of Murfreesboro, Tenn. “Will always kept his cool, which in turn helped me keep my cool, and he never quit. That was the caliber of his personality. That is who he was.”

His awards and decorations include the Bronze Star Medal, the Purple Heart, the Air Medal, the Army Commendation Medal with Valor and one bronze oak leaf cluster, the Army Commendation Medal, the Army Achievement Medal, the Army Good Conduct Medal, the National Defense Service Medal, the Afghanistan Campaign Medal with one Campaign Star, the Iraq Campaign Medal with two Campaign Stars, the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, the Army Service Ribbon, the Overseas Service Ribbon, the NATO Medal, the Combat Medical Badge, and the Combat Action Badge.

He is survived by his wife, Wendi, and parents, Bruce and Janet Williams.

Watch on

Eric’s story on ABC 7 News, Los Angeles.

Keep his mother, Janet, and his wife, Wendi in your thoughts. 

Eric Williams was one of four people who I was seriously, emotionally close to in the Army.  He was my Soldier, and an incredible guy.  I couldn’t help but to like him.

When he was assigned to A Co. 1/6 Infantry, I was pissed.  I didn’t want another new guy.  I wanted someone with experience, combat experience.  Soon I found out that he was an EMT and volunteer Fire Fighter in his home of California.  

Every passing day, Eric proved his worth to me.  Leading him as a Soldier is one of the proudest moments of my life.  Punching his Combat Medical Badge into his chest after treating, and losing SPC Christopher Bartkiewicz was also a very bittersweet moment.  Like many young Medics, he wanted so badly to earn his CMB, but hadn’t yet realized the actual weight of earning it.

He did.  And he never forgot.  It was a burden that he carried with him for the rest of his days, as most Medics who have earned that twisted serpent and wreath.

Eric was days away from coming home when he was struck down in a mortar attack at FOB Shank, Afghanistan on the 23rd of July 2012.  He is survived by his wife, Wendi Williams, his mother, Janet Williams, hundreds and hundreds of Brothers and Sisters from 1/6 Infantry and 3/82 Aviation, and hundreds of friends from home.  As a testament to his character, over one thousand people from Eric’s community, and surrounding communities attended his funeral.

The remains of SGT Eric Edward Williams, arriving in Camp Pendleton, California.

Silver gelatin print from original negative.
-photo Andrew W. Nunn