The Free Press, Mankato, MN

Local News

March 10, 2014

Update: Fellow soldiers remember Waseca Marine killed in Afghanistan (video)

Lance Cpl. Caleb Erickson was killed Feb. 28 in Afghanistan.

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Sgt. Allen Borum, who also attended the Waseca funeral, said he grew attached to Erickson when they both served in the same unit prior to Erickson's deployment in Afghanistan.

Borum personally volunteered to shepherd Erickson's body from the time it arrived at Dover Air Force Base last week until it reached his family.

"(Erickson's death) broke my heart pretty bad," Borum said. "Having to hand a family a flag for a Marine that had been under my charge was the hardest thing I've done in my life. I don't want to ever have to do that again. But if duty calls, I will do it again."

He said it was the first time he had to deliver the body of a Marine.

Borum, Pimienta and other Marines interviewed by The Free Press made a point of emphasizing how friendly Erickson was with everyone in the platoon.

"Some people will only have a few friends. He really was friends with the whole platoon," Borum said.

Pimienta said he learned that during the attack that killed Erickson, one of the Marines was more concerned with learning Erickson's condition than being treated for his concussion.

During lighter moments, Erickson earned the nickname "Tot" from his fellow Marines because of his ability to accurately replicate the voices of characters from the film "Napolean Dynamite."

In a statement, his fellow Marines still in Afghanistan recalled how they would give him a friendly teasing about his heavy Minnesotan accent.

"He was a model for how every man should be," said Lance Cpl. Zachary Dewar in a statement.

Marines from Erickson's platoon, including Marines that were with him during the attack, plan to visit his family and his grave when they return from deployment in late April or May.

 

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