Army Staff Sgt. William S. Ricketts
Died February 27, 2010 serving during Operation Enduring Freedom
27, of Corinth, Miss.; assigned to the 1st Battalion, 508th Parachute Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division, Fort Bragg, N.C.; died Feb. 27 at Bala Murghab, Afghanistan, of wounds sustained when insurgents attacked his unit with small arms fire.
(The following was taken from www.dailycorinthian.com of March 9, 2010) It was a solemn occasion that drew a large crowd to the Crossroads Arena Monday afternoon as the community came together to attend the funeral of fallen soldier – and local hero — Staff Sgt. William S. “Seth” Ricketts.
Early estimates vary but local American Legion members said that a few thousand were in attendance at the Crossroads Arena Monday to pay their respects to Ricketts, who died in western Afghanistan Saturday, Feb. 27, of wounds suffered when insurgents attacked his unit with small arms fire.
Opening remarks were made by Bro. Bob Cossey, who has known the Ricketts family for more than 20 years and had helped lead Ricketts to faith and salvation when he was 10 years old.
Cossey said that the day after Sept. 11, 2001, Seth Ricketts heard and answered a call to duty and pointed out that “we are free” because of men and women like Ricketts who also answered that call.
The soldier’s younger brother, Ben Ricketts, played a haunting melody, “Brother,” on acoustic guitar.
Serving as family spokesperson, Lt. Col. Victor Hearne, Ret., shared personal memories of Ricketts’ love of life, humor and selflessness. He asked for a show of hands for those who had personally had Seth Ricketts do a selfless act for them or knew of a selfless act that the soldier had done. A large number of hands went up in response. Hearne went on to add that it was commonly known that Ricketts was the type of friend one could call at 3 a.m. and know that he would be there.
Hearne also reflected on how the soldier’s death had taken on a powerful meaning, saying that: “His passing has become a symbol.”
A poignant moment came from Rose Jones Ricketts, Ricketts’ wife. She said she felt blessed and thanked the community for their prayers and support. While she mourns the loss of her husband, she expressed gratitude for the time they had together.
“I thank God everyday for giving me the love of my life early,” said Mrs. Ricketts. She went on to add that her husband called her everyday before he went to bed to tell her how much she meant to him and said that he was an amazing father to their sons. Above all, she expressed gratitude in her husband’s faith.
“I thank God for his faith in Jesus Christ and one day I’ll see him again,” said Mrs. Ricketts.
Several of Ricketts’ comrades followed, one after the other, each expressing their memories — both humorous and tender — of the man they all expressed a deep admiration and respect for.
Joe Moser said: “Seth was part of something larger than himself — a bond that cannot be broken.” He went on to say that Seth Ricketts “never backed down from a fight and always put others before himself.”
Quenton Campbell pointed out that the turnout at the Crossroads Arena “shows the impact he had on the community.”
Sgt. Kevin Allen, upon making the point that Ricketts had proven to him that he had lived up to the claim of being “invincible” because, “though his body lay before us, his spirit is among us” and “his arms have stretched out to bring this community together.”
Ricketts’ father-in-law, Bro. Warren Jones, spoke of more spiritual matters and lent strong words of comfort when he said, “In that last moment when no one would ever hold his hand again, Jesus was there to take his hand.”
Before the benediction, Brigadier General Genaro J. Dellaroso claimed the sacred honor of bringing Ricketts home.
Following the service at the Crossroads Arena, American Legion post member and veteran John Gerlach said the funeral procession to the cemetery was two and a half miles long — from the lead vehicle to the last — and people all along the route stopped, with many showing signs of respect in a salute or a hand over the heart. He also said that all along the drive to the cemetery, and at the cemetery, there were people lining the streets.
Ricketts was buried will full military honors at Corinth National Cemetery.