ELOY, Ariz. — The U.S. Army has identified the soldier who died during a training exercise near Eloy Tuesday as 36-year-old Master Sgt. Nathan Goodman.
Officials say Goodman, of Hope Mills, North Carolina, completed four deployments to Afghanistan, one to Iraq, two to Africa, and one to Kyrgyzstan.
“Nathan was a beloved member of 3rd Special Forces Group and an exceptional leader in the Special Operations community,” said Col. Nathan Prussian, Commander, 3rd SFG (A). “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,” he added.
BREAKING: Army has released the name of soldier who died during a free fall training exercise near Eloy early Tuesday. He is Master Sgt. Nathan Goodman, 36, from North Carolina. Officials say the incident is currently under investigation. @abc15 #abc15 pic.twitter.com/j3oviMG421— Claudia Rupcich (@ClaudiaRupcich) January 15, 2020
Goodman was taking part in a routine military freefall training exercise Monday night. His body was recovered in the backyard of a home in Arizona City near the intersection of Concordia Drive and Cleator Road.
Neighbors told ABC15 they heard a loud noise late Monday night and then heard and saw several helicopters in the early morning hours on Tuesday.
Fred Fishman, who lives across the street from the scene, said he'll never forget it. “It sounded like a small sonic boom. It was just horrible," he said. “I seen local sheriff helicopters, I seen private helicopters, military helicopters. It was very disturbing.”
Fishman said he had no idea they were looking for a soldier. “Just want to give thanks to all the military that are doing this. The young men and women. It’s just, every morning I wake up and I’ve been thinking about it," said Fishman.
Community members have organized a candlelight vigil Wednesday night to honor Goodman.
"Something was tugging at my heart strings telling me I needed to do something," said Kenda Bailey, one of the people organizing the vigil. “I think all of her soldiers need to be honored in some way, shape or form."
The candlelight vigil was at 7 p.m. at the intersection of Cloater and Concordia in Arizona City.
Army officials say the incident is under investigation.