Moreland's Coleman among soldiers killed in Afghanistan

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Pfc. Chad Derek Coleman

By ELIZABETH RICHARDSON erichardson@newnan.com Private First Class Chad Derek Coleman, a soldier from Moreland, was killed Friday when a command-wired improvised explosive device was detonated near his vehicle during convoy operations in the Paktiya province of Afghanistan. Coleman, 20, was a cavalry scout assigned to B Troop, 1st Squadron, 33rd Cavalry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) at Fort Campbell, Ky.
Also killed in the attack was Pvt. Adam J. Novak, 30, of Prairie du Sac, Wisc. Coleman entered the Army in October 2008 and arrived at Fort Campbell in March 2009. Coleman is survived by his father, Brian P. Coleman, and his mother, Shanon C. Coleman, both of Moreland. Family friend Sonja Dobek said Tuesday Coleman was “a great kid” who was also very determined in his military career. “He was an only child and was loved very much,” said Dobek. “He had the best sense of humor. You never saw him where he didn’t have a smile on his face. This is just hard to believe.” His parents, who were originally from Wisconsin, received the news of their son’s death on Friday. Coleman’s body was returned to Dover Air Force Base in Delaware on Sunday. Funeral services will be announced later. Coleman attended Newnan High School from August 2005 to the spring of 2009. On Tuesday, Newnan Principal Dr. Douglas Moore recalled his experiences with Coleman while he was a student. Moore remembers Coleman as a “fun kid” who also happened to be “challenging from time to time.” Coleman loved to wear his baseball cap and had to be reminded on a number of occasions to remove it while at school. Moore said he’d always remove it with a “yes, sir.” “He made his presence known,” said Moore. “He didn’t just fit into the fabric.” Moore said he wasn’t surprised by Coleman’s career track. “It doesn’t surprise me he went into the military and volunteered for scout duty — that’s just part of his personality,” said Moore. “He wasn’t part of the status quo. He stood up for what he wanted.” Moore recalls that he socialized with a group of close friends that were “genuine, down-to-earth, good kids.” “Chad warmed up to us,” said his former principal. “He didn’t like moving to Georgia from Wisconsin, but it did eventually become home to him, I think.” Moore said he had conversations with Coleman about what was important to him. He fondly recalled that Coleman “always had strong opinions and defended them.” “He had a strong personality, but he was just a good kid. I was sorry to hear the news.” Leslie Merriman, the executive director for the Newnan-Coweta Habitat for Humanity, said Coleman’s class at the Central Educational Center volunteered during a couple of Habitat’s home builds. She spoke with him once regarding his decision to enlist in the military. “I may not come back alive, but I’m not afraid of dying,” he told her. Tom Barnett was Coleman’s construction teacher at CEC for at least two semesters. “The one thing that stands out about him was his desire to serve his country,” said Barnett. “He talked about his plans on an ongoing basis with me both personally and with the class, and looked forward to finishing school and enlisting. “Chad was quite a character,” Barnett continued. “He was fun-loving and enjoyed being with his classmates.” According to a Fort Campbell news release, Coleman’s awards and decorations included: Army Good Conduct Medal; National Defense Service Medal; Afghanistan Campaign Medal; Global War on Terrorism Service Medal; Army Service Ribbon; NATO Medal and Weapons Qualification: M4 rifle (expert).

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