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Goldendale native dies in Afghanistan

Sun., May 9, 2010

Gov. Chris Gregoire has ordered flags at state office buildings to be lowered to half-staff Tuesday in honor of a Goldendale native killed in Afghanistan.

Army Master Sgt. Mark Coleman, part of 1st Special Forces Group at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, was killed last Sunday when he stepped on an enemy explosive device while on foot patrol in Kandahar province in Afghanistan, according to the Department of Defense.

Coleman, 40, grew up in Goldendale and met his wife there. The couple had recently moved to Yelm, Wash. They have two children, including a son serving in the Army.

Coleman enlisted in 1988 and served in various fire support positions before qualifying for the Special Forces assignment in 2001. This was his fifth overseas deployment, twice to the Philippines and three times to Afghanistan.

“Mark was deeply devoted to his family and his job. He knew that he was making a difference in people’s lives across the world,” the family said in a statement released by the Army’s Special Operations Command at Fort Bragg, N.C.

He was posthumously awarded the Bronze Star Medal and the Purple Heart.

Services will be Saturday in Centerville and Goldendale. The family will hold a private funeral followed by a public burial at noon or shortly after at the Centerville Cemetery.

It will be followed by a public memorial at 2 p.m. at the Grace Brethren Church at 1180 S. Roosevelt Ave. in Goldendale.


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