NORTH OGDEN — Sgt. 1st Class Elliott Robbins' time in North Ogden was relatively short, but his impact was large.
Robbins, 31, died June 30, in Helmand Province, Afghanistan, from a non-combat related incident, according to a press release from the Department of Defense. The DoD says the incident is under investigation.
Robbins body was returned to the U.S. Tuesday, as an Army carry team moved a transfer case containing his remains from Afghanistan to Dover Air Force Base in Delaware. Robbins was assigned to the 10th Special Forces Group and died while supporting Operation Freedom's Sentinel, according to the DoD.
Father Erik Richtsteig of the St. James the Just Catholic Church in Ogden, is acting as spokesman for the Robbins' family. Richtsteig said Robbins moved to North Ogden in the early 2000s while he was in high school. Born in San Diego, Robbins moved around the world as a youth while his father served in the military. Right before moving to Weber County, the family lived in Germany. Robbins' father, Freeman Robbins, was transferred to Hill Air Force Base, where he still works today.
Robbins joined the Army in 2006, shortly after graduating from Weber High School, Richtsteig said. He deployed to Iraq a year later with the 101st Airborne Division. After completing Special Forces qualification, he deployed to Afghanistan in 2017 and this year with Special Operations.
Richtsteig said Robbins only lived in North Ogden for about five years, but despite the somewhat short stay, the community there has rallied around the grieving family, sending messages of support on social media and decorating Freeman Robbins' home with American flags and "Support Our Troops" ribbons.
"The family is very grateful for the expressions of love and concern, especially from the people of North Ogden," Richtsteig said Tuesday, while noting the family has also asked to be allowed to grieve privately. Richtsteig said several family members are in Dover to receive the soldier's remains. Funeral arrangements are still being made.
Robbins had a home in Colorado, where he lived with his wife and a young son, Richtsteig said.
Conversations with Freeman Robbins stand out the most to Richtsteig when he reflects upon the deceased sergeant's life.
"His father was extremely proud and would often talk about the soldiers he saved — both from the U.S. and from Afghanistan — as a medic," Richtsteig said. "That's kind of the universal feeling about Elliott — we're all proud of him and his service."