Senior Chief Ratzlaff, 34, was a native of Green Forest, Arkansas. He enlisted in the United States Navy in May, 1995.
He graduated from Recruit Training Command, Great Lakes, Illinois in August, 1995. Senior Chief Ratzlaff completed Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL School, Coronado California in December, 1998. He served in two East Coast based Special Warfare Units from July, 2006 to August, 2011.
Senior Chief Ratzlaff's awards include the Bronze Star Medal with Combat ‘V' (4), Joint Service Commendation Medal (2), Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal, Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal (2), Combat Action Ribbon, Presidential Unit Citation (3), Navy Meritorious Unit Commendation, Navy Good Conduct Medal (5), National Defense Service Medal (2), Kosovo Campaign Medal, Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, Kosovo Campaign Medal, Afghanistan Campaign Medal, Iraq Campaign Medal, Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Sea Service Deployment Ribbon (8), NATO Medal, Navy Expert Rifleman Medal, Navy Expert Pistol Shot Medal. He was also qualified as an Enlisted Surface Warfare Specialist.
Commander, Naval Special Warfare Command, Rear Admiral Sean A. Pybus, released the following statement:
" Early Saturday morning, Aug. 6, Naval Special Warfare suffered a tremendous loss of 22 men while conducting critical special operations combat in Afghanistan. They cannot be replaced. We will honor their service and sacrifice, and embrace their families as our own, in this time of immeasurable grief. The outpouring of support and sympathy from the Armed Services, the Government, Communities and the Public is well beyond my ability to properly thank. The Naval Special Warfare Community is deeply humbled and appreciative.
Our NSW men were in company with U.S. Army aircrew, U.S. Air Force para-rescue and combat controllers, and an Afghan security element. We grieve for all of them, and admire their teamwork, commitment and courage. I have great hope for the future knowing that extraordinary men dedicate themselves completely to the idea and the actions of freedom and security, not only for ourselves but for others. We are truly blessed that such men answer a call to military service at the highest levels of professionalism and capability, but also deeply saddened by their loss. In the days and weeks ahead, I would ask for your thoughts, prayers and support for NSW, our Families, the Special Operations Community, and all of our Armed Forces."
Insurgents shot down a Chinook helicopter in Eastern Afghanistan on August 6, 2011, killing 30 U.S. service members and eight Afghans, including 22 members of Naval Special Warfare.
Thousands of EMTs and paramedics checked their bank accounts Thursday for one last scheduled payment from the company that suddenly laid them off, but found nothing.
A Newport News man is charged for allegedly sexually assaulting a young girl.
Police say a 19-year-old was shot Thursday evening in Newport News.