FORT LEWIS, Wash. – Lynn Chapman was home alone when two Army officers — one a chaplain — came to her door.
Right away, she recalled Monday, she knew her son Nathan was dead.
"That's the only reason they come," she said, sitting with her husband at Fort Lewis, where their son spent most of his Army career.
Will and Lynn Chapman met with reporters Monday to discuss the death of their son, the first American soldier killed by enemy fire in Afghanistan.
Composed and dignified, the Chapmans shared warm memories of Sgt. 1st Class Nathan Ross Chapman, a Green Beret communications specialist and the father of two small children.
"To us he's a hero and I guess to the nation he's considered one," Will Chapman said. "But all you have to do is walk into a room full of Green Berets and you'll find a whole room of heroes."
Chapman, 31, died Friday when he was hit by small-arms fire in an ambush near the Afghan town of Khost. He and a CIA officer had been meeting with local tribal leaders.
The Chapmans traveled from their home near Austin, Texas, to support Chapman's widow, Renae, and children, Amanda, 2, and Brandon, 1. Renae Chapman gave her father-in-law a statement to read, saying, "Nathan would be happy that the nation supports what he believed in."
"We're doing everything we can to support her," Will Chapman said.
The Chapmans of Georgetown, Texas, last saw their son, the baby of the family, at his brother's wedding about a year ago. They remembered the way he danced with his baby daughter and doted on all the children there.
Nathan Chapman never seemed intrigued by his father's 21-year career in the Air Force, until he joined the Army after high school. Will Chapman recalled admiring the change in his son during his graduation from Special Forces school at Fort Bragg, N.C.
"There was a quiet confidence they all seemed to have, Nathan included," he said.
The Chapmans said they felt no anger over their son's death, "only pride and a sense of loss."
Chapman's body was to arrive Tuesday night in Washington State, said Fort Lewis spokesman Joe Hitt. His funeral is scheduled for Friday.