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October 30, 2014

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Friends, family remember Nellis sergeant gunned down

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Rich Coleman

A servicewoman at Nellis Air Force Base plays “Taps” during a flag-folding ceremony Tuesday afternoon at a memorial service for Staff Sgt. Nathan Paet. Paet was shot and killed Dec. 1 outside of his home while preparing to go to work. The service was held at Nellis chapel.

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A picture of Nathan Paet is displayed Tuesday afternoon at a memorial service held at Nellis chapel. Paet was shot and killed Dec. 1 outside of his home as he was preparing to go to work.

When he met Air Force Sgt. Nathan Paet, Capt. James Galyon instantly got a feel for Paet’s personality.

“There was that smile,” Galyon, chaplain at Nellis Air Force Base, said. “I could tell he was sharp. I could tell he was friendly, and I could tell he obviously enjoyed his work and being with his family. It’s sad that I’ll never get to know him better.”

Galyon was one of many who remembered Paet at Tuesday’s memorial service at the Nellis Chapel, 4302 N. Washington Blvd.

Paet, 28, was shot last week in his garage as he was getting ready for work in the middle of the night.

Paet, a native of Guam, was an F-15 fighter jet supply section technician assigned to the 757th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron. He joined the Air Force in 2002 and had been stationed at Nellis since November 2007.

“Nate was well-loved and did so many good things, and I’m sure he’ll do much more in heaven,” Staff Sgt. Paul Leones said to about 100 people at the chapel. Leones served with Paet for nearly three years and considered him a close friend.

Leones said it was Paet’s motivation, passion and dedication to his job that stuck with him throughout the years. When they were both deployed to Iraq, they talked to each other about their families and how much they missed them, he said.

“He’s always been proud of his children and loved his family so much,” Leones said. “We always had the same question...‘How much (time) we got left?’”

Senior Airman Monika Radcliff said work came easily when Paet was around.

“The most tedious tasks were done with smiles because of Nate’s contagious attitude,” Radcliff said. “He would sing; he would laugh...Everyone would work harder and more efficiently. Nate’s optimism and lightheartedness truly seemed unfaltering.”

Paet’s brother, Eric Paet, was the last person to speak and was struck by how Paet’s fellow servicemen cared for his brother.

“Today our family found out how much he was loved by others,” Paet said. “I can’t imagine anybody who would not want to be his friend, who would not want to live the way he lived.”

Lt. Col. Shane Henderson, commander of the 757th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, spoke highly of Paet’s military service.

“Nate really represented all that is right with the Air Force,” Henderson said. “We will all walk tall and proud for having the opportunity to get to know him.”

The family released a statement on Dec. 6, thanking the community for the support that was shown to them.

“We are saddened by the loss of Nate and it is impossible to comprehend why someone would harm him. He was a wonderful person who was loved by so many and will be forever missed and never forgotten,” the family said.

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