Nathan Chapman (soldier)

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Nathan Chapman
Chapmans Coffin.jpg
Chapman's coffin being carried by military pallbearers in January 2002.
Birth name Nathan Ross Chapman
Born (1970-04-23)23 April 1970
Andrews Air Force Base, Maryland, U.S.
Died 4 January 2002(2002-01-04) (aged 31)
Gardez, Afghanistan 
Buried at Tahoma National Cemetery, Kent, Washington
Allegiance  United States of America
Service/branch United States Army
Rank Army-USA-OR-07.svg Sergeant First Class
Unit 1st Special Forces Group

Bronze Star Medal ribbon.svg Bronze Star

Purple Heart ribbon.svg Purple Heart

Nathan Ross Chapman (23 April 1970 – 4 January 2002) was a United States Army Sergeant First Class with the 1st Special Forces Group. He was the first American soldier to be killed in combat in the war in Afghanistan.

Early life and education[edit]

The son of Wilbur and Lynn Chapman, Chapman was born at Andrews Air Force Base, where his father was stationed at the time. Chapman grew up in a variety of towns across the United States, but listed his hometown as San Antonio, Texas when he joined the military at the age of 18. He had never lived in San Antonio, but that is where his grandparents lived.[1]


Chapman's military career spanned 13 years[2] and included combat service in Haiti, Panama and the Persian Gulf War.[3] In 1989, he parachuted into Panama during the invasion of that country. He also served in Operation Desert Storm and later attended the U.S. Army Special Forces School at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. Assigned to the 1st Special Forces Group following the 11 September attacks, Chapman was directing troop movements from the back of a flatbed truck when he was shot.[4] He did not die instantly from the attack, which also saw a CIA Paramilitary Operations Officer from Special Activities Division wounded.[5][6] Although originally dubbed an "ambush", the military backed away from using the term.[7]

He was posthumously awarded the Purple Heart and the Bronze Star.[5] Forward Operating Base Chapman was named after SFC Chapman.


Chapman, his wife Renae and two children [8] lived in Puyallup, Washington. He was buried at the Tahoma National Cemetery in Kent, Washington.[9]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Widow of first servicemember to die in Afghanistan War still struggling with loss and Veterans Administration CBS News, July 10, 2012
  2. ^ Soldier's body to arrive in the U.S. Tuesday CNN, January 7, 2002
  3. ^ Fallen Green Beret Is Eulogized The Los Angeles Times, January 11, 2002
  4. ^ Marek, J.B. "Shadow Massacre", 16 July 2007
  5. ^ a b Bongioanni, Carlos. Okinawa bureau Stars and Stripes, "Okinawa service salutes Nate Chapman a former Torii Station Green Beret killed in Afghanistan" Pacific edition, Sunday, 13 January 2002
  6. ^ U.S. War Victim Rode Into Afghan Turf Fight The New York Times, February 9, 2002
  7. ^ " - U.S. backs away from term 'ambush' in soldier death - January 9, 2002". 2002-01-09. Retrieved 2014-07-29. 
  8. ^ First American to die in Afghanistan, Nathan Chapman, remembered eight years later The Daily News, January 4, 2010
  9. ^ Nathan Ross Chapman at Find a Grave