Family members confirmed that an Arlington man was one of 30 service members killed in a helicopter crash in Afghanistan on Saturday.
Chief Petty Officer Matt Mills, 36, was on his last mission when the Chinook helicopter crashed in the restive Wardark province, his family said.
"He's always loved what he did," said his sister, Ashley Mills. "He told me he couldn't believe he could do this for a living because he loved it so much."
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He was a Navy SEAL for 10 years.
“He was very humble about what he did,” said his cousin, J.B. Abbot. “He never bragged about being a Navy SEAL.”
Matt Mills grew up in Arlington and graduated from Martin High School.
He has three children, an 18-year-old son and 13-year-old daughter from a previous marriage.
Mills remarried just a few months prior to his last mission, on April 29. He and his current wife, Keri, who lives in Virginia, have a 1-year-old son together.
Family member said Mills greatly admired his grandfather, a Marine, and when he was younger, often talked about wanting to join the military.
Ashley Mills said she finds comfort in the fact that her brother served in what he saw as his mission in life.
"It would be that he had a lot of love in his heart and he was proud of his country and he was proud to serve," she said. "He loved his family, his children, and we also loved him very much."
Abbot said he worried about the highly secretive missions the SEALs perform.
“From what I’ve seen on TV and heard -- they do most of their traveling through the mountains and [on] helicopters, and I always had a feeling if anything ever did happen to him, it would always be en route to something or coming back," he said.
The 30 American service members, most of them Navy SEALs, died when their helicopter was shot down had rushed to help Army Rangers who had come under fire, U.S. officials said Sunday.
Most of the SEALs were from the same unit that killed Osama bin Laden, although none of the men took part in that mission.
NATO was recovering the remains of the twin rotor Chinook helicopter. A current and a former U.S. official said the Americans included 22 SEALs, three Air Force members and a dog handler and his dog. The two spoke on condition of anonymity because military officials were still notifying the families of the dead.
All but two of the SEALs were from SEAL Team 6, the unit that killed bin Laden, U.S. officials said on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to release the information.
Eight Taliban fighters were also killed in the battle, Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid said in a statement.
The Associated Press' Kimberly Dozier and Patrick Quinn contributed to this report.