Sgt Winder died from wounds sustained while conducting combat operations near Diwaniyah, Iraq. He was killed by small arms fire while assisting another U.S. Army element as a member of a U.S. Special Forces Quick Reaction Force.
Winder is the second member of the military from San Juan County to be killed in Iraq. Lance Cpl. Quinn A. Keith was killed in action on September 6, 2004.
A memorial service will begin at 5 p.m. on Friday, July 6 at the Blanding North Chapel of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 255 East 200 North. A memorial service was also held on July 2 at Ft. Lewis, Washington.
Funeral services and interment will be held at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, VA. The time and date for the funeral services had not been finalized at the press deadline.
Winder, the son of Tom and Terri Winder, is survived by his wife Mechelle, 11-year-old son Logan and a large extended family.
The Winder family reports that Sgt Winder loved children and enjoyed serving the young people of Iraq. He sent photographs of an instance where he used his skills as a medic to stitch a young Iraqi girl who had been refused medical treatment at a local hospital. He was known for leaving teddy bears with young Iraqi children.
Winder was a strong supporter of the United States military effort in Iraq. In e-mails to his family, he stated, “I honestly feel like we are doing a lot of good things over here and that the people really appreciate it.”
He added, “I believe that what we are doing over here, in the long run, will benefit all.”
Winder’s wife Mechelle, a citizen of South Africa, said, “Nathan was a true American. Because he was a naturalized citizen, he appreciated what America has to offer. He never took it for granted, he only wanted to give to others what he had been given.”
She added her sentiments when she said, “I love America and I love what they are doing for the world.”
Nathan Winder was born in 1974 in Seoul, South Korea. He was abandoned at the steps of a court house soon afterwards.
He was adopted at the age of two by the Winder family and raised in Blanding. He became a naturalized citizen of the United States when he was four years old.
He entered the Armed Forces soon after graduating from San Juan High School in 1993 and was a full time member of the military since that time.
Winder was accepted into Special Forces Qualifications Course in 2003 to become a Special Forces medic. He earned the coveted green beret as a graduate of special forces training in 2006. He was assigned to the 1st Special Forces Airborne Group at Ft. Lewis, Washington.
His service took him to locations around the world. As a member of the Special Forces, Winder was a highly trained and highly decorated soldier.
His awards and decorations include the Army Commendation Medal, Army Achievement Medal Fourth Oak Cluster, Good Conduct Medal Fourth Award, National Defense Service Medal Second Award, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Korean Defense Service Medal, Noncommissioned Officer Professional Development Ribbon, Army Service Ribbon, Overseas Service Ribbon, Expert Infantryman Badge, Parachutist Badge, Driver/ Mechanics Badge, and the Special Forces Tab.
He was posthumously awarded the Bronze Star, Purple Heart, Meritorious Service Medal, Iraq Campaign Medal, and the Combat Infantryman’s Badge.
Utah Governor Jon Huntsman met with Tom and Terri Winder in Blanding on June 28 during a quick visit to San Juan County.
An estimated 25 members of the Winder family (he has 17 siblings) hope to attend the funeral services in Arlington, VA. In order to help defray the costs, a special fund has been created at Zions Bank in the name of Nathan Winder. Donations are excepted and appreciated.