While on combat patrol in Baghdad, Iraq, an improvised explosive device detonated near the unit of Sgt Nicholas J Lightner. Killed immediately were team members Staff Sgt. Blake M. Harris, 27, of Hampton, Georgia, Staff Sgt. Terry W. Prater, 25, of Speedwell, Tennessee, Sgt. Emerson N. Brand, 29, of Rigby, Idaho and Pfc. James L. Arnold, 21, of Mattawan, Michigan. Sgt. Ryan P. Green, 24, of Woodlands, Texas, died Mar. 18 in Landstuhl, Germany of wounds received in the attack. Sgt Lightner died at Walter Reed Hospital on March 21, 2007 from his wounds.
At Walter Reed, Sgt Lightner learned that he was the sole survivor of his team. He spoke of his regret at not being able to save his team, Chaplain Geoff Bailey told his family. "He told me that he became a medic in order to help people and was frustrated that he was unable to do so after being injured."
Sgt Nicholas "Nick" Lightner was 29 years old. He was from Toledo, Oregon - a small coastal town near Newport. He graduated from Toledo High School where he was a big offensive lineman, but also known for his big heart and compassionate nature. He loved the Oregon outdoors - hunting, fishing, camping and hiking.
"After 9-11, he felt the need to do something and that's what he did. He went for the right reasons," his father said. He joined the Army four years ago and deployed to Iraq in November.
Sgt Lightner served with 1st Battalion, 8th Cavalry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, Fort Hood, Texas.
He is survived by his father and stepmother, Bill and Sheri Lightner; brothers Joshua and Nathan; three stepbrothers, Justin, Alex and Cory Lake; and his girlfriend Ginger Warfield.
Nick Lightner's family and friends are in our prayers at this difficult time.
Farewell, Sgt Nick Lightner, and Walk with God.
The Patriot Guard Riders will be meeting the family and Sgt Lightner to escort them from the airport to Newport tonight. This ride is about 150 miles and will take over three hours in the dark. Thank you, PGR, for all you do for our fallen and their families.