Master Sgt. Nathan Goodman honored at memorial service, body escorted back to Fayetteville

Akilah Davis Image
Thursday, January 23, 2020
Ft. Bragg Sgt. honored as remains return to NC
Ft. Bragg Sgt. honored as remains return to NC

FORT BRAGG, N.C. (WTVD) -- Master Sgt. Nathan Goodman died tragically during a training exercise in Arizona last Tuesday. Those who knew and loved him are asking the community for support as his remains are escorted back home.

"While Nate didn't die over in Afghanistan, Iraq or Syria, he still deserves a sendoff as momentous as that," said Nicole Mitchell, a family friend. "I'm sad for my friend, but devastated for the family knowing the road they will have ahead. While some of us will move on in a couple of months this is not anything they will ever get over."

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Mitchell organized a tribute for the 36-year-old soldier assigned to the Third Special Forces Group called, "Light Nate's Way Home." She collected American flags and candles with ribbons--yellow, black and red, the colors of the Third Special Forces Group--to distribute to those who want to honor him.

Goodman's remains arrived at RDU at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday and were escorted to the Lafayette Funeral Home in Fayetteville on Raeford Road.

"If you want to honor him, be the kind of American worth dying for," Mitchell said.

Despite frigid temperatures, hundreds lined Raeford Road near the funeral home to say goodbye to Sgt. Goodman and honor the Green Beret.

Friends in attendance said Goodman was the epitome of a silent professional and a true American hero.

Some supporters said though they had never met the Green Beret, they wanted to support the grieving family and celebrate Goodman's life.

Willie Harris, a veteran who has lived in the Cumberland County area for more than 30 years, said he decided to attend Wednesday night's viewing to honor a fallen brother.

"That's a fellow comrade, you know. Although my military services have been way over, the military, they're all still my brothers," Harris said.

Melissa Clark and her husband met Goodman when they moved to Hope Mills in August.

Clark said Goodman was a kind-hearted soul that always knew how to make people laugh.

"I asked him how long it took to get to the elementary school from the house and he told me 'the exact length of Bohemian Rhapsody' will get you from the school to the house or the house to the school," Clark said.

Goodman was born in Pasadena, California, and grew up near Chicago.

In July 2002, he enlisted into the Army. Goodman was in the 3rd Special Forces Group's 2nd Battalion. He had an 18-year career with eight deployments and multiple awards.

He leaves behind a wife and two children.

A family friend organized a GoFundMe to help the family continue his legacy.