Honoring those who fought and died in Operation Enduring Freedom, Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation New Dawn
- NATO Kosovo Force
- Operation Allies Refuge
- Operation Enduring Freedom
- Operation Freedom’s Sentinel
- Operation Inherent Resolve
- Operation Iraqi Freedom
- Operation New Dawn
- Operation Octave Shield
- Operation Odyssey Lightning
- Operation Spartan Shield
- Task Force Sinai
- U.S. Africa Command Operations
- U.S. Central Command operations
- The People Behind The Sacrifice
Search Our Database
Navy Special Warfare Operator Petty Officer 2nd Class (SEAL) Nicholas P. Spehar
Died August 6, 2011 Serving During Operation Enduring Freedom
24, of St. Paul, Minn.; assigned to a West Coast-based Naval Special Warfare unit; died Aug. 6 in Wardak province, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when the CH-47 Chinook helicopter in which he was riding was shot down.
‘He gave 100 percent to our country’
The Associated Press
When Nicholas Spehar said he was going to do something, you could take him at his word.
The 2005 graduate of Chisago Lakes High School was a “quiet leader,” a star in academics and three sports during his time at the school along Minnesota’s eastern border, said Principal Dave Ertl.
“Nick was an active young man, and if he said he was going to do something, he did it,” Ertl said. “I could see him as a Navy SEAL and giving 110 percent to serve his country.”
Special Warfare Operator 2nd Class (SEAL) Spehar, 24, was killed in an Aug. 6 helicopter crash in Wardak province, Afghanistan, that killed 30 American troops.
Younger brother Luke Spehar told the Star Tribune of Minneapolis in the days after Spehar’s death that the family did not want to talk about Nick, the second of five children, until after his funeral. “We need time,” he said.
Craig Swanberg, 46, of Chisago City, Minn., a town of about 4,700, said the Spehar kids played football with his own children.
“The whole family is a down-to-earth group ... nice, everyday, salt-of-the-earth people,” Swanberg said. “Nick was a big kid, a powerlifter, who was not as soft spoken as his brothers.”
Ertl said Spehar played football and baseball for Chisago Lakes, starred on the swimming team and was an academic letter winner.
“He gave 100 percent in high school,” Ertl said. “And he gave 100 percent to our country.”
Minnesota SEAL remembered as focused young man
The Associated Press
CHISAGO CITY, Minn. - A Navy SEAL from Minnesota who was among 30 U.S. troops killed when their helicopter was shot down in Afghanistan is remembered in his hometown as a young man who gave everything to his country.
Nicholas Spehar, 24, was a "quiet leader" - a star in academics and three sports - who "focused on getting things done," said Chisago Lakes High School Principal Dave Ertl.
"Nick was an active young man, and if he said he was going to do something, he did it," Ertl said of the 2005 graduate. "I could see him as a Navy SEAL and giving 110 percent to serve his country."
The Spehar family has said little publicly. They learned of his death "a few days ago," younger brother Luke Spehar, 23, told the Star Tribune in a brief telephone interview Monday that served as the family's only public confirmation of his death. They have declined comment to The Associated Press and other news organizations.
Luke Spehar told the newspaper the family did not want to talk about Nick, the second of five children, until after his funeral.
"We need time," he said.
"They're in pain," the Rev. Mark Wehmann of the Church of St. Bridget of Sweden in neighboring Lindstrom told the Star Tribune. "Pray for them. Pray for all the soldiers."
At the Wagon Wheel cafe in Chisago City, about 30 miles north of St. Paul, and at the Swedish Inn restaurant a few miles down the road in Lindstrom, many who knew Spehar declined to talk about him, in deference to his family's wishes. Ertl said staff members at the school experienced "disbelief, shock and sadness" at the news of his death.
"This is a tragedy," the principal said. "Not only for our country and our state, but also for our smaller community here."
The painful news of Spehar's death is a reminder that events happening thousands of miles away can have an impact at home, Ertl said.
"We need to be supportive of our families and the military men and women," he said. "Whether it's a situation like this or day-to-day service, we need to let them know that we are thankful for their service to our country."
About Nicholas Patrick Spehar
Special Warfare Operator 2nd Class (SEAL) Nicholas P. Spehar, 24, of Saint Paul, Minn., enlisted in March 2007, according to the Navy.
He reported to Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL training at Coronado, Calif., after leaving basic training, graduating from BUD/S in February 2008. He also trained Naval Special Warfare Advanced Training Command at Coronado and Naval Special Warfare Training Center Detachment at Kodiak, Alaska. He joined a West Coast-based SEAL team in September 2008.
His decorations include Army Commendation Medal, two Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medals, National Defense Service Medal, Iraq Campaign Medal, Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Good Conduct Medal, Sea Service Deployment Ribbon, Rifle Marksmanship Medal and Pistol Marksmanship Medal.