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Special Operations soldier from Hope Mills dies during military freefall training

Posted January 15, 2020 5:29 p.m. EST
Updated January 16, 2020 10:27 p.m. EST

— A Special Forces soldier from Fort Bragg died during routine training in Arizona on Tuesday, officials told The Fayetteville Observer.

Master Sgt. Nathan Goodman, 36, of Hope Mills, was participating in a military free fall training exercise near Eloy, Arizona, according to a statement released Wednesday by U.S. Army Special Operations Command. The statement did not provide details of the incident, but said it is under investigation.

Goodman was in the 3rd Special Forces Group’s 2nd Battalion, according to the statement. He was promoted to master sergeant in July, becoming an operations “team” sergeant for a Special Forces Operational Detachment-Alpha, it said.

Goodman completed four deployments to Afghanistan, one to Iraq, two to Africa, and one to Kyrgyzstan, the statement said.

“Nathan was a beloved member of 3rd Special Forces Group and an exceptional leader in the Special Operations community,” said Col. Nathan Prussian, commander of the group. “Our heartfelt condolences go out to his family during this difficult time, and our priority now rests with taking care of them and our soldiers.”

Goodman had graduated from the basic, advanced, senior and master leader courses; the Army Special Operations Forces Senior Noncommissioned Officer Fundamentals Course; basic and small group instructor training courses; the Special Forces Advanced Reconnaissance, Target Analysis and Exploitation Techniques Course; basic, jumpmaster and advanced tactical infiltration military free fall courses; the Special Forces Advanced Urban Combat Course; the Advanced Special Operations Techniques Course; and the Small Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Operator Course.

His awards and decorations include the Bronze Star Medal (two Oak Leaf Clusters); Legion of Merit; Meritorious Service Medal; Army Commendation Medal (three Oak Leaf Clusters); Army Achievement Medal; Valorous Unit Award (one Oak Leaf Cluster); Meritorious Unit Citation (two Oak Leaf Clusters); Army Good Conduct Medal (three Oak Leaf Clusters); National Defense Service Medal; Afghanistan Campaign Medal (four campaign stars); Iraq Campaign Medal (two campaign stars); Global War on Terrorism Service Medal; Noncommissioned Officer Professional Development Ribbon (Numeral 3); Army Service Ribbon; Overseas Service Ribbon; Armed Forces Reserve Medal with Mobilization device; NATO Medal (one Oak Leaf Cluster); Special Forces Tab; Combat Infantryman Badge; Expert Infantryman Badge; and Parachutist’s Master Rated Military Free Fall Badges.

Goodman was born in Pasadena, California, but grew up near Chicago, Illinois, according to the statement. He enlisted July 2002, completed basic and advanced individual training and the Army’s Basic Airborne Course at Fort Benning, Ga., before being assigned to the 1st Battalion, 27th Infantry Regiment at Schofield Barracks, Hawaii.

In 2005, Goodman transferred to the Army National Guard, attended Special Forces Assessment and Selection and graduated as a Special Forces Engineer Sergeant in October 2007, the statement said. He was assigned to the 19th Special Forces Group’s 2nd Battalion. He returned to active duty in 2010 and was assigned to his current unit. In 2016, he was re-assigned to 1st Special Warfare Training Group as a senior instructor, then chief instructor.

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