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Tanners Namesakes

Willa Stone Ross

April 13, 2012 will be a day that lives with me forever. It’s the night that I not only lost a brother, but also an event that left me with more unanswered questions far beyond the scope of human understanding. The general theme of those uncertainties; why was I spared, and why was he taken from us? I returned from that trip and in November 2012, I married my best friend, Victoria. Fast forward two years later, and I  finally found the reason I was spared that night. We were expecting our first child, a little girl. There was no question that we wanted to honor Tanner with this child. Had it not been for his sacrifice, she wouldn’t be here. We chose to name her Willa Stone Ross. The phone call to Patti, and Danny for permission was so emotional. We hoped they would give us their blessing, and feel proud that our baby would share a name with their son, our hero. There’s not a day that goes by we don’t think of him, and see his strength in every milestone Willa Stone accomplishes. We know that he is watching over her always, and for that, we are forever grateful.

Nixon Stone Ramirez

Every family has a story... Welcome to ours. Nixon Stone is 2nd cousin to Tanner Stone Higgins. 

Family has always been a priority for us. It’s easy to get caught up in the busyness of your own lives. Family is something that we work at everyday simply because it’s worth it.  Legacy is living a life that will last long past ones time here on Earth. Tanner Stone lived a life that will last. I had the privilege of growing up with Tanner from a very young age - from playing at the pool in Grandma’s backyard to “running away” from home on a “mission.” Tanner was born for the Army.. Although, at 5 when you asked him what he wanted to be when he grew up he’d tell you, “Navy Seal!” Tanner is thought of daily and we speak of his life and sacrifice often. He’s given many the opportunity to have known and look up to a real life hero. 

The reason we chose Stone as Nixon’s middle name is because Tanner was a leader, a man of integrity, faith, and he is someone that we always want to remember. I often call Nixon, “Nixon Stone” and I always remember Tanner’s sweet, shy smile. 

Nixon Stone... He is too young to know the real meaning of his name, but when he’s ready I will tell him exactly what it means to be a “Stone.” He will know Tanner Stone Higgins through photos, stories, and the feeling of love that continues to surround his memory. I will make sure that he knows he was named after someone that made a difference in the life of so many. My hope is that Nixon will find real pride in that fact and that he was named after such a courageous man. 

We will never forget. 

Marley Stone Hammond

I met Tanner in spring 2011 at Warrior Leader Course.  We were both newly promoted E5s in Ranger Battalion.  WLC was the last place any Ranger wanted to be, as is often the case with most Army schools.  Tanner and I hit it off and were instant friends. And thankfully so, because we were there for 5 weeks. Except for weekends, we were isolated at a small camp in the woods of Fort Stewart, GA. We both found humor in practical jokes and decided it was time for a little fun. There was a designated smoking section, marked by white engineering tape attached to moveable stakes.  During breaks, soldiers would of course stand around within the area to smoke. Each break, Tanner and I would move a couple of the stakes during personal breaks when no-one was around, making the area smaller.  Gradually, it was a significantly smaller space and yet everyone still crammed in it to smoke. It still makes me laugh. 

 We were together again for a training event and would deployed together our next deployment in 2011.  Tanner would ask me questions about marriage and kids.  We binged watched series of shows during our down time, including The OC (I was bored, they were serious about it).  Tanner was so well liked by all the guys in his platoon.  He in a sense “vouched” for me, my character and my ability.  His guy’s loved and trusted him, so they accepted me and I was able to do my job as a mortar man. 

 After returning home, anytime I went over to Delta Company, I took the opportunity to visit with Tanner and 1st platoon. We deployed to different places in Afghanistan the following deployment.  One night I was playing video games and another E5 came in and said “We had a bunch of casualties tonight and one KIA.”  I asked who the KIA was, not expecting what he would say.  His response was Higgins.  I couldn’t have prepared myself for that.  This humorous, free spirited, dedicated Ranger that I came to call my friend, gave the ultimate sacrifice.  

 My wife and I like to give our children names of strength, honor, beauty, and significance.  We found out we were expecting our third child in fall of 2012 upon my redeploying after Tanner died.  Boy or girl, we wanted to honor Tanner’s life and bring our child into the world with a legacy of courage and selflessness.  June 15, 2013 we welcomed Marley Stone Hammond into this world.  At four years old, Marley knows her middle name is Stone, but I haven’t told her why, yet.  I look forward to telling her about my friend, Tanner Stone Higgins. 

 

-Mike

Tanner John Mansir

I was in 1/75 with Tanner. I am a officer and was on staff when he was in HHC and D Co. I originally met him in a quite unusual way. I was tasked with setting him up a group of Rangers from across the Battalion to pose for the now infamous painting "Into the Breech" by Stewart Brown.   He and I immediately hit it off. I ran into him several more times during training that cycle and when he was KIA I was nearby. We then unfortunately lost Benno the military working dog about a week later. Benno was the dog who also posed for that painting. I then took it upon myself to get approval to ask the painter to ensure Tanner and Ross were painted into that rooftop and Benno's name tag was put into the painting.   Tanner made an impact on me and immediately impressed me as a Ranger and a Man. I have worked with many special operators over the years and Tanner is hands down what we should all strive to be.  My wife were both active duty at the time and am I am still on active duty serving in special operations at Fort Bragg NC. My lovely wife made the hard decision to get out and raise our family. No easy task as you well know. When we found out we were pregnant with our second son....it was an immediate fit. Our boy, Tanner John Mansir is our freedom baby. John is after the Bible verse John 15:13.  He is now almost 3 and I firmly believe that he is like our beloved Tanner Stone. Not only do we call him Tan-Man but the tattoo that my wife chose fitting of Tanner John was the word  "determined", which I now have on my wrist.   As I sit and write this, I am tearing up.  Not out of sadness but rather the pride that only mothers and fathers have about their children.  About once a month I pick up my Tanner and have him tell me about the Into the Breach painting that hangs in our house. He says that he is named after Tanner Stone and that Tanner Stone is in heaven. His brother and him have little stuffed dogs that are named Benno too.    Tanner John is a good little boy who loves his brother and sister and loves his transformer toys. I along with many other people that Tanner Higgins touched will never stop telling his story. We speak the names of the fallen often and tell their stories.   I will follow this email up with some pictures. 

 

With Love,

Kane, Krista, Toncey, Tanner and Lucy Mansir

Barrett Stone Dixon

I met Tanner in 7th grade and we became the best of friends. Throughout middle school, high school, and after graduation we remained close friends. I kept up with his life in the military and he kept up with my life in college. Along with many other things, Tanner showed me that life is about courageously standing for the things you believe in. He taught me by his example not to sweat the small stuff. When my husband and I found out we were expecting a son, we wanted a name with character and knew without a doubt we would name our child after him. Barrett Stone Dixon was born on November 3, 2014 and he is the center of our lives. It is an honor for our son to be able to carry a name that stands for strength, courage and freedom. 

 

-Bailey and Chase Dixon

Everett Stone Williams

When Michelle and I found out we were going to have a son we knew we would name him after our Hero Tanner Stone Higgins. As a fellow Ranger buddy of Tanner’s I wanted to make sure his memory would always stay alive through our son Everett Stone. Every time we say Everett’s name it reminds us of Tanner, when we share Everett’s name with others we get to tell them about Tanner and the sacrifice he and his family made for this great country. I always wanted to be around Tanner, I was truly amazed by him. I Thank God for allowing me to be called a friend of Tanner’s! Tanner was strong and courageous and most of all a Godly man and we want our son to grow up knowing about and leading the type of life that Tanner led. One sweet day we will all rejoice in heaven together. What a wonderful day that shall be when Tanner can meet all of his precious namesake babies.

Kanaan Stone Johnson

Growing up with Tanner, I always knew there was something special about him.  The way he carried himself with confidence, the way he played football so fearlessly, the way he made everyone around him feel special.  There was no doubt in my mind that he would do great things. To lose touch with Tanner for the latter part of his army years and then hear about his ultimate sacrifice was devastating to say the least. But, getting to hear and see who he had become and how he used those qualities while manifesting others along the way, and not only defend his Country, his brothers, and our way of life, but to lead people to Jesus and to have the strength to be firm in His ways by being a light to his brothers and to also, be as I’ve heard him described on occasion, the perfect definition of an "Army Ranger", that blew me away more than i could ever put into words. And to see how many people he has affected and touched not only in life but in death as well. Its unlike anything that i have ever seen or heard of and I’m beyond thankful that i have gotten to be a part and for the people that have become family, all for Tanners namesake and cause. I believe that God puts people in your life for a reason and when it comes to people that i know personally and filling slots of who's who in your life. Tanner Stone Higgins will always be my Hero. I cannot wait to share with my son who he is named after and how much that name means and how much weight it carries.

Tanner Lynn Smith

I am not nearly as good with words as I would like to be in order to describe the impact Sgt Higgins had on my life. I hope these words convey the admiration I, and so many others have for him.  Sgt Tanner Stone Higgins was my first Team Leader in Battalion. In my opinion he embodied what I'd imagined a Ranger should be; Strong, determined and one of the few that truly lead by example. I remember thinking then, that I'd have a long road to travel if I were ever able to measure up to his standard. 

He helped me develop as a soldier, guided me towards becoming a competent and proficient member of his team, and to this day I still strive to perform to His standards in everyday life.  I separated from the military in August of 2013. Shortly thereafter, my wife gave birth to our first child, Tanner Lynn Smith, on 17 April, 2014.  Again I wish I were a wordsmith, because anything I say about her will never fully embody the beauty, brain, or personality that she is. Tanner Lynn is such a unique and strong individual. I am so excited to see what impact she will have on this world. One hope I have for her is that she will inspire and motivate a change in people like Sgt Tanner Stone Higgins was able to do. We decided with a name like that, she’d be off to a good start.

Tanner Mason Hollingsworth

We decided to name our son after Tanner, simply because of the profound impact he had on my life. Tanner was and is still one of my biggest heroes. His selflessness, motivation and vigor for life was absolutely contagious. The impact he had on me, will stay with me forever. I knew that if I named our son after Tanner, it was another way to keep his story going. As my son grows older and learns of Tanners story, I hope that he can understand the magnitude of his namesake. I can only hope that I will be able to inspire in my son the tireless work ethic and contagious positive attitude that Tanner displayed so often. When people ask my son about his name or where it came from, I know that he will tell them with pride and continue Tanners amazing story.

Tanner Robert Morton

We have named all three of our kids after very special people to us. Brayden Arwon was named after his great grandpa and also is my middle name. McKinli Faith is named after her Uncle Jason that passed away right before she was born. Jason was a God fearing man his favorite biblical word that he lived by was Faith. Our third son we also wanted to name him after someone very special to us. In our opinion who else is more special not only to us, but anyone honored enough to know them. Tanner Robert (Sanchez). Tanner is special when you close your eyes and picture what a Ranger looks like he is that person. Even more than that it was the principles he stood for and his faith in God was unwavering. He is a true inspiration to everyone that knew him. I was raised in 1/75 with Rob and was like a little brother to me. Anytime you talk or think about Tanner and Rob you can't help but smile and cry all at the same time for being so blessed to serve alongside with them knowing how amazing men they were. In our opinion true hero's never die their legacy lives forever. Now when someone mentions Tanner Robert and wonders how we got that name I am proud to tell them! 

Stone Watts


In May of 2012 Cameron and Leslie Watts were waiting to pick out their new black lab puppy from the litter. At the time, Cameron was deployed, and would be unavailable to get his eyes on the litter before others started choosing their pups, but as always Leslie saved the day. She had already made a deal with the breeder to get dibs on one of the few males, and as is the Ranger way, they selected the one who would move further, faster and fight harder than any other puppy. Without hesitation, they chose the strongest looking of the pack. He was going to be a hunting dog, they knew that, so they wanted a good one syllable name. This was their first pet as a family, so they wanted a name that would be remembered. Over the next few weeks, Cameron and Leslie struggled to find a name that was fitting for the newest of the Watts’ clan. Cameron had asked the boys for their help, although a valiant effort, nothing seemed to fit, none felt right. During a name brainstorming session Tanner Stone Higgins, had opened the door to the tent, and as he had done so many times before, shouted “Eagle!” (letting all of us inside know that he was a friend not an enemy) and began to clear the entryway with his hands. He then suggested Eagle as the name of the new puppy. Although funny, Cameron decided against it. Higgins was Cameron’s first team leader, and he greatly admired Tanner, as did everyone Tanner came in contact with. Higgins was the epitome of a Ranger, always setting the example for others to follow. That deployment, on April 14, our country lost one of its best and bravest. As a way of honoring the man who meant so much to so many, Cameron and Leslie named their new dog Stone. Rather than a traditional name plate, Stone’s collar is written to honor the man he was named after, and matches the KIA band that Cameron and Leslie wear on their wrist.

Jax Stone Journeycake

This is still a sensitive for me and not a day goes by that I don’t think of or talk about Tanner. I name my son Jax after Tanner because even though Tanner was younger than me he was someone I could go to for guidance. Guidance for any and everything He truly had a sound body mind and soul. Tanner and I grew up in Together in 1st Platoon Delta Company as privates. We were in different squads for the majority of the time but we were always friends. In Sept 2011 we became Team leaders together in 2nd Squad he was the Alpha Team Leader and I was the Bravo. Our Squad Leader was SSG Brent Bartels. Tanner and I worked great together we always saw eye to eye and agreed on everything you would of thought we had always worked together. Brent always told us we made his job too easy. Some of the best advice always came from Tanner.

Tristan Stone Markley

In Ranger Regiment, I had the unique opportunity of introducing my boys to dozens of positive, male role models. Everywhere they turned there were smart, hardworking, strong, self-sufficient men to set the example for others to follow. Tanner was one of those men.  As a private, I remember thinking how Tanner was just so good at everything he did. He was physically strong, had an amazing commitment to his faith, and he was the kind of person that made you smile just by being around him. I guess it’s difficult to put into words why I named my son after Tanner. When I gave the name Stone to my son, it felt as if I gave him a gift. Tanner is, and always will be a part of me. The act of naming my child after him is sharing that with Tristan as well. Tristan now has his own Airborne Ranger in the sky to watch over and guide him.

Kyle Stone Bastress

Kelsey and I decided to name Kyle Stone after Tanner because we thought it was the greatest thing we could do to memorialize Tanner and keep his legacy alive. Tanner was such a great Ranger and was an even better person. To this day I’ve yet to hear anyone say anything negative about him. My only hope in life is for Kyle Stone to turn out to be half the man Tanner was.

Layla Stone Patterson


April 2012 my wife was five months pregnant with our second child, at that point, an unnamed baby girl.  The night Tanner was killed forever changed our lives and impacted every aspect of our lives very deeply.  It hurt so badly to think that Tanner wasn’t going to meet my little girl because he was always Uncle Tanner to my firstborn.  He was like a brother to me.  The best way to help heal was to name our daughter after him and we knew right away that giving her his middle name was what we wanted to do.  To this day, it remains a constant reminder every time I look at my little girl what an honor it was to have been a part of Tanner’s life while serving in the army together.  We hoped that by giving her his name it would bless her with the many traits that he possessed.  It feels like it has kept Tanner’s spirit alive with all of the children that carry his name and I think that is the best thing that could happen to us all.  I find peace knowing that Tanner is with us and watching over our children and my now 5-year old baby girl, Layla Stone Paterson.

Layla Stone Patterson

Triston Stone Horne


I couldn't think of a better way to honor my cousin and my first best friend!  I wanted my first born to have the same initials as Tanner.

Elias Stone Davenport


Tanner was my first Private when I became a Team Leader.  We deployed in the same platoon a few times together.  My dad had me make a set of dog tags with Tanner's information on them an he wore them until the day he died.  The only real instructions he gave me before he passed was for him to be buried with those dog tags on.  Even though my dad never met him, his story and who he was made a distinct impact on the rest of his life.  Tanner seemed to have that on pretty much everybody.