Knoxville Soldier dies in Afghanistan - | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

UPDATE: Knoxville Soldier dies in Afghanistan

By WRCB Staff

CHATTANOOGA (WRCB) -- A soldier from east Tennessee has died in Afghanistan.

The Associated Press provided a photo of an Army team carrying the transfer case containing the remains of Army Spc. Nathan E. Lillard of Knoxville. The photo was taken at Dover Air Force Base on Tuesday.

The Department of Defense has confirmed Lillard was one of five soldiers killed when insurgents attacked their unit

"I remember him as just so easy to get to get to know. his personality was wonderful, always excited. He was the, didn't matter what you asked him to do, he would say 'Yeah, we'll get it done.' He was just that type, very hard worker, would do anything to help you, anything you needed," said Greg Tipton, a friend of Lillard.

Tipton says Lillard was 26 years old, and a member of the 101st Infantry Division out of Ft. Campbell.

"Jovial is a good word. He was always smiling and happy, just liked to kid around and have a lot of fun at work," said Tipton.

Tipton says he worked with Lillard at Modern Supply Company in west Knoxville. He says Lillard worked there before beginning a second stint in the Army.

Tipton says he would take his son to work and the boy got to know Lillard. "My son was five at the time and I explained he was going into the Army. We'd always pray at night and if I would forget he would say, 'Dad, don't forget Nathan!' So, just his personality, my son thought the world of him. That's just the way Nathan was."

"Lost my best friend," said Rusty Youell, who also met Lillard when they worked together.

Youell said Lillard gave 110 percent as a soldier. "He was awesome. He'd give you the shirt off his back if he could. He wanted to fight so bad for our freedom and that's all he talked about," said Youell.

The two last communicated via Facebook on Thursday. "Friday I sent him a message and he didn't respond. Then Saturday and Sunday he didn't respond, which was very unusual. Then his mother called me and that's when I found out," Youell said.

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