Naming History

Learn More About the Hero Behind the Name

IC1 (SEAL) Thomas E. Retzer was born March 10, 1973 in Lancaster, California. He attended San Diego State University before enlisting in the United States Navy on May 10, 1993. Thomas was supporting Operation Enduring Freedom when he was mortally wounded after his convoy made contact with enemy forces outside Gardez, Afghanistan on June 25, 2003. During his service, Thomas was awarded two Bronze Star Medals, both with Combat V Devices; Purple Heart Medal; Defense Meritorious Service Medal; Joint Service Achievement Medal; Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal; and numerous other campaign medals and awards.

Thomas is survived by his wife, Courtney; his sons, Leif and Owen; his father, James; his mother, Leona; his brothers, James, Justin, and Michael; his father- and mother-in-law, Thomas and Sandra Wasley; his sister-in-law, Lindsey Wasley; best friends, Jerry and Teresa Shick; and a host of family, friends, and teammates. Tom was a consummate friend, husband, and father. He was the guy who would stop to change the tire for a stranger in the rain, make a 30-second call from a world away just to tell his wife he loved her, and never miss a chance to read his boys a bedtime story. In his career, Tom was a driven, dedicated, and professional warrior. At home, he was a kindhearted, easy-going guy with an infectious belly laugh who enjoyed a good workout, a good beer, and ugly Hawaiian shirts. Tom had an enduring love for his family, his teammates, and his country, with a profound dedication to protecting the ideals of the American spirit.

GM2 (SEAL) Danny Phillip Dietz was born on January 26, 1980, in Aurora, Colorado. He graduated from Heritage High School in Littleton, Colorado and entered the United States Navy on August 31, 1999. In April 2005, Danny deployed with his Special Reconnaissance element to Afghanistan to support Naval Special Warfare Squadron 10 and the Naval Special Warfare community's prosecution of the Global War on Terror. He was part of a four-man SEAL reconnaissance team tracking a high-ranking terrorist leader when they were ambushed by Taliban forces. Although outnumbered, Danny and the rest of the team "continued to fight the enemy with undiminished zeal, covering the extraction of the rest of their team while they stayed and fought. Putting the safety of their teammates ahead of their own, they displayed extraordinary heroism in combat."

During his service, Danny was awarded the Navy Cross Medal, Purple Heart Medal, Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal, Combat Action Ribbon, Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Sea Service Deployment Ribbon, and Expert Pistol and Expert Rifle Medal. Danny is survived by his wife, Maria (Patsy); his mother, Cindy; his father, Danny Senior; his sister, Tiffany; his brother, Eric; and a host of family, friends, and teammates.

STG2 (SEAL) Matthew Gene Axelson was born June 25, 1976 and was raised in Cupertino, California. He attended California State University-Chico, where he earned a degree in Political Science. Matt entered United States Navy Basic Training in December 2000. In April 2005, Matt deployed with his Special Reconnaissance element to Afghanistan to support Naval Special Warfare Squadron 10 and the Naval Special Warfare community's prosecution of the Global War on Terror. He was part of a four-man SEAL reconnaissance team tasked with tracking a high-ranking terrorist leader when they were ambushed by Taliban forces. Although outnumbered, Matt and the rest of the team "continued to fight the enemy with undiminished zeal, covering the extraction of the rest of their team while they stayed and fought. Putting the safety of their teammates ahead of their own, they displayed extraordinary heroism in combat."

During his service Matt was awarded the Navy Cross Medal, Purple Heart Medal, the Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal, the Good Conduct Medal, and many other awards. Matt is survived by his wife, Cindy; his father, Cordell; his mother, Donna; his brother, Jeff; and a host of family, friends and teammates.

Lakiba Nicole Palmer was born and raised in San Diego. She was a star track athlete at San Diego High School, competing in hurdles, sprints, and the 400-meter relay. She graduated in 1996 and enlisted in the Navy the following year. She served aboard the aircraft carrier USS HARRY S. TRUMAN (CVN 75) before reporting to the destroyer USS COLE (DDG 67) in June 2000.

COLE deployed later that year to the Middle East, and while harbored in the Yemeni port of Aden, the ship was attacked by suicide bombers. Palmer was one of 17 sailors killed in the blast.

Lakiba Nicole Palmer is survived by her husband and daughter and is buried at Mount Hope Cemetery in San Diego.