Cpt. Nathan J. Nylander
35 years old from
438th Expeditionary Wing
Jan. 23, 1976 – Apr. 27, 2011
On the morning of 27 April, an assailant opened fire upon United States personnel shooting seven U.S. Air Force Airmen and one American civilian contractor. Despite an extremely uncertain tactical situation, and with disregard for his own safety, Captain Nylander went to the Air Command and Control Center (ACCC), Afghan Air Force (AAF) Headquarters in response to the shooting.
He responded when the gunman began shooting as he was with four other Airmen and eight Afghan personnel in a conference room adjoining the ACCC. Captain Nylander could have exited the building to safety, but chose instead to return and assist his fellow Airmen. Captain Nylander then engaged the gunman, wounding the assailant and when he remained on the floor motionless, Captain Nylander approached the other rooms. The gunman arose and went into a room across the hall from the conference room.
When the gunman re-emerged into the hallway, Captain Nylander engaged the assailant again and during this exchange of gunfire, Captain
Nylander sustained wounds to his left and right thighs. Although seriously wounded and bleeding heavily, he continued to engage the
gunman until his weapon jammed. When he attempted to exit the rear entrance of the AAF Headquarters, he was killed by the gunman.
Captain Nylander’s brave actions degraded the gunman’s capability and likely prevented further loss of life, including that of other U.S. personnel who remained in the AAF Headquarters. By his bold initiative, undaunted courage, and complete dedication to duty, Captain Nylander gallantly gave his life for his country and reflected great credit upon himself and upheld the highest traditions of the NATO Training Mission-Afghanistan and Combined Security Transition Command-Afghanistan, and the United States Air Force.
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