KIA August 6, 2011
Operation Enduring Freedom
Assigned to Naval Special Warfare Group Two
On August 6, 2011, a CH-47 Chinook military helicopter, call sign Extortion 17, was shot down while transporting a Quick Reaction Force team attempting to reinforce an engaged unit of Army Rangers. The resulting crash killed all 38 people on board — 22 Navy SEALs and Naval Special Warfare support personnel, three Air Force Special Operations forces, five Army National Guard and Army Reserve crewmen, seven Afghan commandos, and one Afghan interpreter — as well as a U.S. military working dog. This is considered the worst loss of U.S Military life in the Afghanistan campaign, surpassing Operation Red Wings in 2005.
Kraig graduated from high school in 1992 and attended Evangel College in Missouri on a football scholarship. “He decided college wasn’t for him,” and returned home, his father, Robert Vickers, said. After stints in tree trimming and working as a hotel security guard, he became a certified scuba diver and decided to join the Navy in 1996. “Kraig is real strong, real smart,” said childhood friend, Mike Labuanan. “And he always wanted to do something challenging, so when he said he was going into the Navy, it was only right. It fit his personality.”
Kraig, and his wife Nani, who was pregnant at the time of his death, and their two children, were living in Virginia Beach, VA, but were expecting to be stationed on Oahu in 2012. Those who knew him say he was a fearless, intelligent, and easygoing family man. Whereas he truly enjoyed the work he did, nothing made him happier than to be with his wife and children. He was a God fearing man that was committed to raising his family using the Bible as a template.
“If you knew Kraig, or people who’ve known Kraig-nicest guy possible,” said another childhood friend, Darrett Schoeoppner. “Highest Christian values. Put his family and his friends above everything else. And obviously, and ultimately, put himself first for his country.”
EOD SCPO Kraig Vickers was 36 years old from Kokomo, HI
Original portrait was presented February 17, 2012 to the Vickers family during a special event on board the USS Missouri Museum, Pearl Harbor, Hawaii