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Families of TX Soldiers KIA Cheer Bin Laden's Death

By Lindsay Wilcox
|  Tuesday, May 3, 2011  |  Updated 12:08 AM CDT
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The father of the first U.S. serviceman killed by enemy fire in Afghanistan says the death of Osama bin Laden helps ensure his son didn't die in vain.

Ellen Goldberg, NBCDFW.com

The father of the first U.S. serviceman killed by enemy fire in Afghanistan says the death of Osama bin Laden helps ensure his son didn't die in vain.

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The father of the first U.S. serviceman killed by enemy fire in Afghanistan says the death of Osama bin Laden helps ensure his son didn't die in vain.

During an ambush in January 2002, Sgt. 1st Class Nathan Ross Chapman became the first U.S. soldier killed by enemy fire in the war in Afghanistan.

His father, Will Chapman, said Monday from his home outside Austin that he was "elated" upon finding out that American forces killed the al-Qaida leader.

"Knowing that was one of the objectives that his team had and what he was there for, that was a sense of satisfaction now that something that our son had started out to do, that his comrades today now finished that job he started," he said.

He and his wife said they've spent the last nine years questioning whether their son's death would be in vain.

"It has been my fear that if we didn't accomplish the mission that they started out to do, then I felt that it would have been in vain -- even though he was doing what he wanted to do, he was doing what he felt was the right thing to do," he said.

The Chapmans said they only wish their son would have lived long enough to see his mission accomplished.

"I'm sure he's very proud of his comrades and what they've accomplished," Chapman said. "He'd be very happy."

Nathan Ross Chapman lived in San Antonio. He was 31, with a wife and two children. He would have turned 41 last week.

North Texas Reaction

Among the thousands of headstones at the DFW National Cemetery are the names of some of the North Texas soldiers killed since 9/11; names like Sgt. Lance C. Springer II killed by an improvised explosive device in Baghdad, and that of J. Adam Garcia, a 20 year old army specialist and the son of an NBC DFW assignment desk editor.

Both men were motivated by the attacks on September 11, 2001.

"That's all he could talk," said Joe Garcia, Adam's father. "He was only a sophomore in high school when that happened, and that's all he could talk about."

Lance and Anne Springer hope bin Laden's death sends a loud message to terrorists worldwide.
 
"That America will not cower to terrorists, and that our foreign policy toward nations, particularly Israel, will not be changed by the evil acts you do," said Lance Springer.

The Garcias say it's justice, plain and simple.

"We look at him as the reason Adam died," said Joe Garcia. "He's the one that caused everything (on 9/11) and that's why Adam ended up going into the military and ultimately, giving up his life."

If Cynthia could speak to her son once again, she says she would tell him his death was not in vain and that he and all the other fallen soldiers did good.

NBC DFW's Ellen Goldberg contributed to this report.

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