Amanda Guerra, NBCDFW.com
Friends and family share fond memories of 36-year-old Navy Chief Petty Officer Matt Mills.
Loved ones are remembering a North Texas native who was killed in a helicopter crash in Afghanistan on Saturday.
Chief Petty Officer Matt Mills, a Navy SEAL, grew up in Arlington.
"You never knew what he was doing... and what he was doing was amazing," said close friend Jeff Stone.
He said his friend quickly rose through the ranks as a Navy SEAL , eventually joining the elite Team Six.
Many of the Americans who died were members of the Navy's SEAL Team Six, the unit that conducted the raid that killed al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden at his hideout in Pakistan. But none of the SEALs killed in the crash took part in the bin Laden mission. The official name of the SEAL team is the Naval Special Warfare Development Group.
"Matt loved his job," Stone said. "He always said, you know, 'I chose this. If I die, I die.'"
Because of his work, Mills couldn't make it home to Texas often, Stone said. But when he did, Mills was focused on family and friends.
"Matt loved his work, but if he walked in a room, he'd [say] 'What've you been up to? What've you been up to? How are you doing?'" Stone said.
Mills even made a surprise trip home from Iraq to celebrate Stone's graduation from Texas A&M University in College Station.
The two snapped a picture together that night, both grinning from ear-to-ear, arms slung around one another's shoulders.
"There I am in that picture, and obviously proud as anything to have my arm around my best friend," Stone said.
Mills was one of 30 U.S. service members killed when a CH-47 Chinook helicopter crashed in Afghanistan on Saturday, also killing seven Afghan commandos and an Afghan interpreter
Mills' family members flew Monday to Dover Air Force Base in Delaware. His body is expected to arrive on Thursday.
He will be buried at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia.
His family is deciding whether to have a separate ceremony in Bastrop, where Mills' parents live.