Arlington native among Navy SEALs killed in Afghanistan crash




Posted on August 7, 2011 at 5:47 PM

Updated Sunday, Aug 7 at 11:06 PM

Wardak Province, Afghanistan

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ARLINGTON — The team of Navy SEALs killed in Afghanistan this weekend includes an elite fighter from North Texas. Matt Mills, 35, graduated from James Martin High School in Arlington.

The father of three was on a helicopter shot down by enemy forces Friday night.

"Matt was a proud American. He served his country with pride," said his cousin, J.B. Abbott. "He loved his brothers that he fought with."

"He was very humble and never boasted what he did, but he was good at it," said Mills' sister, Ashley. "He loved what he did. And he loved his teammates and brothers."

Mills looked up to his grandfather because the veteran enlisted with the Marines after the attack on Pearl Harbor — a decision that motivated Mills to chase his goals.

"He did what he wanted to do," Abbott said. "He always wanted to be a Navy SEAL. Just love him very much. I'm proud of him."

The Texas native got married just a few months ago. He and his wife, Keri have a one-year-old son in Virginia.

Mills also leaves behind a 13-year-old daughter and an 18-year-old son from a previous marriage in Oklahoma.

Mills was planning to come home in October to attend his sister's wedding in Dallas, but he wasn't planning on retiring any time soon.

He wanted to serve six more years with the Navy.

Mills enlisted in the Navy nearly 14 years ago, serving first on the USS Kinkaid, but he accomplished his dream 10 years ago when he became a member of the Navy SEALs.

The chief petty officer has served in at least one mission in Iraq and Afghanistan every year for the past 10 years. He never talked about his secret missions, but he was extremely proud.

Mills will be buried at Arlington National Cemetery. Family and friends are also planning to hold private memorials in Oklahoma, Virginia and Central Texas.