A seasoned Special Forces operator was killed during Military Freefall training.
Master Sergeant Nathan Goodman died on January 14 while conducting routine training with his unit in Eloy, Arizona. The causes of his death are under investigation.
Assigned to the 3rd Special Forces Group (3rd SFG), MSG Goodman was a veteran of eight deployments (four in Afghanistan, two in Africa, one in Iraq, and one to Kyrgyzstan). He had been appointed to the coveted Team Sergeant position on a Special Forces Operational Detachment Alpha (SFODA) last July.
In a press statement, Colonel Nathan Prussian, the commanding officer of the 3rd SFG, said that “Nathan was a beloved member of 3rd Special Forces Group and an exceptional leader in the special operations community. Our heartfelt condolences go out to his family during this difficult time and our priority now rests with taking care of them and our soldiers.”
MSG Goodman had begun his Special Forces career in the National Guard with the 19th Special Forces Group — there are five active-duty Special Forces Groups (1st, 3rd, 5th, 7th, and 10th) and two National Guard (19th and 20th). In 2010, he moved to the active-duty side and joined the 3rd SFG.
According to the United States Army Special Operations Command (USASOC), MSG Goodman was graduate of the following schools: Basic, Advanced, Senior, and Master Leader Courses; Army Special Operations Forces Senior Noncommissioned Officer Fundamentals Course; Basic and Small Group Instructor Training Courses; Special Forces Advanced Reconnaissance, Target Analysis and Exploitation Techniques Course; Basic, Jumpmaster and Advanced Tactical Infiltration Military Free Fall Courses; Special Forces Advanced Urban Combat Course; Advanced Special Operations Techniques Course; and the Small Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Operator Course.
Additionally, MSG Goodman had received the following awards and decorations during his career: Bronze Star Medal (2OLC); Meritorious Service Medal; Army Commendation Medal (3OLC); Army Achievement Medal; Valorous Unit Award (1OLC); Meritorious Unit Citation (2OLC); Army Good Conduct Medal (3OLC); National Defense Service Medal; Afghanistan Campaign Medal (four campaign stars); Iraq Campaign Medal (two campaign stars); Global War on Terrorism Service Medal; Noncommissioned Officer Professional Development Ribbon (Numeral 3); Army Service Ribbon; Overseas Service Ribbon; Armed Forces Reserve Medal with Mobilization device; NATO Medal (1OLC); Special Forces Tab; Combat Infantryman Badge; Expert Infantryman Badge; Parachutist’s Master Rated Military Free Fall Badges.
Military Freefall (the military equivalent of skydiving, but with hundreds of pounds of gear) encompasses the High Altitude High Opening (HAHO) and High Altitude Low Opening (HALO) insertion methods. In HAHO missions, operators open their parachutes at a high altitude and glide, sometimes for dozens of miles, toward their target; in HALO missions, operators open their parachutes close to the ground.