Eric Yates

Since its inception, each month LHCP has honored a military service member who gave the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom. Every box which is shipped from LHCP is labeled with information about the Honoree. The monthly Honoree’s story is attached to the box so others can read about those who have sacrificed their lives for our freedom. This month’s Honoree is Army 1st Lt. Eric Yates.

Army 1st Lt. Eric Yates

Died September 18, 2010 Serving During Operation Enduring Freedom

26, of Rineyville, Ky.; assigned to 1st Battalion, 502nd Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), Fort Campbell, Ky.; died Sept. 18 in Maquan, Zhari district, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when insurgents attacked his unit with an improvised explosive device.

ROTC grad dies in Afghanistan

ELIZABETHTOWN, Ky. — A campus memorial service has been scheduled for Sept. 23 at Western Kentucky University for a Rineyville native and graduate of the school’s ROTC program who died in Afghanistan.

1st Lt. Eric D. Yates died Sept. 18 from injuries received when insurgents attacked his unit with an improvised explosive device in the Zhari district in Kandahar province, according to the Army. Yates was assigned to Bravo Company, 1st Battalion, 502nd Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), at Fort Campbell.

Army 1st Lt Eric Yates
Army 1st Lt Eric Yates

“It’s a sad day here,” Lt. Col. Jason T. Caldwell, head of WKU’s Department of Military Science and Leadership, told The News-Enterprise of Elizabethtown. “It reminds us about what our WKU ROTC graduates can experience when they become officers in the military and defend our country.” Yates graduated from Western Kentucky University in 2008 and was a double major in social studies and history. He received his commission through WKU’s Reserve Officers’ Training Corps program.

“It’s tough to lose a member of the family even if your family is 21,000 students, 2,200 employees and 100,000 alumni,” WKU President Gary Ransdell said, adding Yates was the first ROTC cadet he knew as a student to be killed in action. “We suffered a loss last weekend that brings world events close to home.”

Yates had arrived at Fort Campbell in October 2009, according to the Army. His awards and decorations included the National Defense Service Medal; the Afghanistan Campaign Medal; the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal; the Army Service Ribbon; the Overseas Service Ribbon and the Combat Action Badge.

He is survived by his father, David L. Yates, and mother, Kathy Yates, both of Rineyville.

A 2003 graduate of John Hardin High School in Elizabethtown, Yates is the second graduate of that school to die in Afghanistan in the last two months. Spc. Nathaniel Garvin, a Radcliff native also based at Ford Campbell, died in July in Afghanistan.

Michael Leasor, who graduated with Yates from John Hardin in 2003 and attended elementary school with him in Rineyville, told The News-Enterprise of Elizabethtown that Yates wanted to join the military at a young age. He said he talked with Yates about a month ago, shortly before he deployed. “He was just his usual self,” Leasor said. “He was always kind of quiet … He looked at it as just doing his job.”

Yates wanted to be a teacher

Eric Yates was a quiet soldier who took a no-frills approach to his job and let his work do the talking.

“He looked at it as just doing his job,” said Michael Leasor, who graduated from Kentucky’s John Hardin High School with Yates in 2003.

Former school Principal Brent Holsclaw said Yates didn’t talk much but was a good student who did all that was expected of him.

Eric Yates
Eric Yates

Yates, 26, of Rineyville, Ky., died Sept. 18 in the Zahri district of Kandahar province, Afghanistan. He was assigned to Fort Campbell, Ky. Yates graduated from Western Kentucky University in 2008 with a degree in social studies and history. He was in the school’s ROTC program. Jessica Forrest, a social studies teacher at Hardin High School, said Yates “was a real sensible and likable young man” who couldn’t wait to one day begin a career as a teacher.

Lt. Col. Jason Caldwell, who leads the ROTC program at WKU, said he always heard only good things about Yates.

“He was kind of a quiet, soft-spoken young man, but always got the job done, was always true to his word,” Caldwell said.


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