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Rusty Dornin: Slain soldier to be memorialized

FORT LEWIS, Washington (CNN) -- The death of Nathan Chapman, the first American soldier to die by enemy fire in Afghanistan, has touched those who knew him at home. His body is expected to return to his home in Fort Lewis, Washington, this week.

CNN Correspondent Rusty Dornin filed a report from there on Sunday.

RUSTY DORNIN: This is not the first time that the folks here at the 1st Special Forces group in Fort Lewis have been very sadly touched by events stemming from September 11.

Maj. Cole Hogan was killed in the attack on the Pentagon. He's a former member of the group here, and now Sgt. 1st Class Nathan Chapman's name will be inscribed, along with Hogan's at a special memorial marker that's on the base here.

Wilbur Chapman, father of U.S. Green Beret Nathan Chapman, killed in Afghanistan, talks about his son. CNN's Frank Buckley reports (January 5)

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This was a military home of sorts for Chapman. He spent most of his 13-year military career here, coming here right after basic training. He lived here with his wife, Renae, and their two toddlers, Amanda and Brandon.

He had [many] close friends here. Both his commanders and his comrades-in-arms say that Chapman was doing in Afghanistan exactly what he joined the Special Forces to do. His parents in Texas say they believe that as well.

Special Forces is an especially close-knit group. These guys depend on one another for survival in very dangerous situations. They look to each other as family. When Chapman was killed, the Green Berets closed rank and sort of formed a protective shield around Chapman's wife and their two children.

Chapman's remains are expected to be flown from Germany on Monday, arriving in Seattle on Tuesday. His parents are expected to arrive here today. There is no set time yet for the memorial.




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