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First U.S. Combat Casualty Mourned

attacks terror Nathan Chapman funeral: Widow Renae Chapman holds her daughter, Amanda, 2, on her lap, as grandmother Rosselyn Nesteby holds Chapman's son, Brandon, 1, on her lap
AP
With a solemn tribute, family and friends bid farewell Friday to Sgt. 1st Class Nathan Chapman, the first American serviceman killed by enemy fire in Afghanistan.

"Nate was both a gifted soldier and a great guy," said Maj. John Maraia, commander of C Company in the 3rd Battalion of the 1st Special Forces Group at this sprawling Army base where Chapman spent much of his military career.

Standing near Chapman's flag-draped casket, Maraia delivered the first of several eulogies during the service attended by Chapman's wife, Renae, his family, friends and officials including Gov. Gary Locke.

A wreath of red-and-white carnations — a remembrance from the high school he attended in Ohio — was among floral tributes. Nearby were Chapman's boots, Special Forces beret and M-4 rifle.

Click Here for Complete CoverageThe 31-year-old father of two who lived in nearby Puyallup was killed Jan. 4 by small-arms fire during an ambush near Khost, a few miles from the Pakistan border. He and a CIA agent, who was wounded, had been meeting with local tribal leaders.

At a memorial service Thursday, Chapman's name was added to a granite memorial of other members of the Special Forces who have died. The ceremony was held in a small cul-de-sac that was renamed Chapman Circle in his honor.

"It deeply saddens me today, but we now have a new hero," Col. David T. Fridovich, commander of 1st Special Forces Group, told the gathering.

Renae Chapman also accepted the combat infantryman's badge, the Purple Heart and a Bronze Star with valor on behalf of her husband. She held back tears as her 2-year-old daughter sat, wrapped in a blanket, on her lap.

Fridovich said Chapman eagerly answered the call to serve in Afghanistan.

"Try and remember not where you were on Sept. 11, but how you felt," Fridovich told mourners. "Here, as in other U.S. military units, we reflected the same emotions as the rest of America, but almost immediately began to ask the following: What do you want us to do and where do you want us to go to begin to fix this problem?

"By envisioning this, you begin to understand the motivation that drives men such as Nathan Chapman."

Chapman was a Green Beret communications specialist who parachuted into Panama during the U.S. invasion there and served in Haiti and the Gulf War.

He graduated from Special Forces school at Fort Bragg, N.C., and spent most of his career at Fort Lewis, where he was assigned to the 1st Special Forces Group. Following the Sept. 11 attacks, he was reassigned to the 5th Special Forces Group at Fort Campbell, Ky.

Chapman was born at Andrews Air Force Base, Md. His father, who retired after 21 years in the Air Force, said he didn't know his son was interested in a military career until he joined the Army upon his 1988 graduation from high school in Centervile, Ohio.

Chapman's parents, Will and Lynn Chapman of Georgetown, Texas, left home to comfort Chapman's widow and children, 2-year-old Amanda, and 1-year-old Brandon.

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