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“The whole town was proud of him,” said Loree Blackburn, who runs that restaurant.

Now, the community of 2,700 remembers Ratzlaff with flags flying at half-staff.

Ratzlaff, 34, would have been grateful for the outpouring of support for his family, his nephew said. But he “would want the focus to remain on the cause for which he made the sacrifice, not the sacrifice itself.”

He had two sons and a wife expecting their third child — a girl — in November. He also leaves behind a sister and mother.

“As a Navy SEAL team member, my uncle was trained to keep a low profile and to do his job,” Adams said.


Darrik Benson

Before he became a U.S. Navy SEAL, Darrik Benson was known as a good student and an all-around nice kid in Angwin, a small town in California’s Napa Valley where he grew up.

At the end of his latest tour of duty next month, he planned to marry his girlfriend, Kara, and spend time with his 2-year-old son, Landon.

“She’s very broken up about this,” Benson’s mother, Claudia Benson, told the Santa Rosa Press Democrat.

Benson had recently earned his commercial pilot’s license to possibly fly airplanes after his military service ended.

Linda Hansel, who taught Benson in eighth grade, remembered him as bright, outgoing and just a touch mischievous.


Jesse Pittman

Jesse Pittman made it known he wanted to become a SEAL during his second summer working as a seasonal firefighter for California’s forestry department. He trained in his off-time with an ex-SEAL to prepare.

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