Monday, July 12, 2010

Army Pfc. Nathaniel D. Garvin

Remember Our Heroes

Army Pfc. Nathaniel D. Garvin, 20, of Radcliff, Ky.

Pfc. Garvin was assigned to 96th Aviation Support Battalion, 101st Combat Aviation Brigade, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), Fort Campbell, Ky.; died July 12, 2010 at Forward Operating Base Frontenac, Afghanistan, of injuries sustained in a noncombat-related incident.

On the day he would have turned 21, Radcliff resident Nathaniel Garvin's body was retrieved by his family at Dover Air Force Base after Garvin became the latest Kentucky soldier to die in Afghanistan.

Pfc. Nathaniel D. Garvin, 20, a helicopter mechanic assigned to the 101st Airborne Division's Combat Aviation Brigade, died Monday of injuries sustained from a noncombat-related incident in Kandahar, Afghanistan, according to the Defense Department.

No further details were provided. Two family members said military personnel were still investigating his death and even they weren't sure what happened.

"He was a very family-oriented guy," said Garvin's cousin, Dustin Thompson, 23, of Radcliff. "It's still hard to believe."

Garvin grew up in Vine Grove, Ky., a kid who loved skateboarding, rock music and computers, his family said. He loved to play "Halo," a computer war game, and go fishing with his cousins. Most friends called him by his childhood nickname, "Tater."

"He found out he was going to be a dad. ... It was one of the most important things to him, and that's one of the reasons he joined up, to know his child would be taken care of (with) a steady job and benefits," Dustin Thompson said.

Garvin followed his two older brothers into the military, joining the Army in August 2008.

Four months later, his daughter was born -- which he described on his MySpace page as "the greatest day of my life." Garvin arrived at Fort Campbell in June 2009, according to the military.

His awards and decorations include National Defense Service Medal; Afghanistan Campaign Medal with arrowhead, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal; Army Service Ribbon; NATO Medal; and Weapons Qualification: M4, expert.

He found his work as an aviation mechanic "a good experience," Garvin wrote on his MySpace page.

Kyle Thompson, 20, of Vine Grove, who is also Garvin's cousin, said he spoke once with him in Afghanistan. Garvin told him the Army was rough and encouraged him to stay home and go to college.

Garvin's death marked the 26th soldier from the 101st Airborne Division to perish in Afghanistan since June.

"The day he died was his mom's birthday -- she found out that day," Kyle Thompson said. "Even worse was that he was just about to turn 21."

The funeral will be scheduled after the family's return from retrieving the body, according to James Chism of Coffey & Chism Funeral Home in Vine Grove.

Lynne Gibson, assistant principal of John Hardin High School, said the school had sent "a great number of our former students to our military" and said the community's "hearts are hurting for Nathaniel's family and friends."

Kyle Thompson said he hopes the Army investigation doesn't take long. "It's frustrating, because I want to know what happened."

Garvin leaves his wife, Brittany Garvin, and 1-year-old daughter, Kayleigh, according to the Army. His Facebook page said he also was caring for a son. He is also survived by his father and mother, Clifton and Melanie Garvin of Elizabethtown, Ky., the military said.

Army Pfc. Nathaniel D. Garvin died 7/12/10 of injuries from a non-combat related incident.

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