Based: Ft. Stewart, Ga.
3rd Battalion, 69th Armor Regiment, 3rd Infantry Division
Supporting: Operation Iraqi Freedom
Died: August 18, 2005
High School: Elsinore High (Wildomar)
Burial: Riverside National Cemetery, Riverside
From the LA Times:
"I am a soldier in the United States Army, 21 years old, and [now in Iraq]," begins a letter to the editor published in the Riverside Press-Enterprise in April 2003, signed by a serviceman named Nathan Bouchard.
"This freedom we have was not free."
Bouchard, 24, died in Samarra, Iraq, on Aug. 18 when a roadside bomb exploded near his Humvee.
Raised in Wildomar, in Riverside County, Bouchard was on a second and extended tour of duty in Iraq. He enlisted in the Army in May 2002, spurred by patriotic sentiments after the 2001 terrorist attacks, his parents said.
"Nathan believed in what he was doing. He wrote, and he told us about the good things that they were doing in Iraq," said Alida Bouchard, his mother, from the family's new home in Cottonwood, Ariz.
"He enjoyed kids especially," John Bouchard said. "And he enjoyed being over there in the land that was of the Bible -- Samarra -- seeing it firsthand."
He surfed, hiked and went mountain biking. Often, Bouchard hiked "in slippers," which were more comfortable for him, said his father, chuckling.
Bouchard, assigned to the 3rd Battalion, 69th Armor Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division in Ft. Stewart, Ga., also was a devout Christian. He was an active member of The Fold, a Christian youth group in Wildomar. He attended Cornerstone Community Church with his family.
Bouchard last saw his parents and siblings in May, when he visited Cottonwood before returning to Iraq. His younger brother, Sean, 21, also is in the Army and was home when the family received news of Nathan's death.
A funeral service is scheduled for Saturday at Cornerstone Community Church in Wildomar. The Bouchards said they have received messages of support and condolences from as far away as South Africa, many prompted by their son's letter to the editor.
They said they would always remember Nathan as a positive-thinking, energetic man who did anything he could for friends and family when he saw them unhappy. Bouchard's faith, his parents said, continues to give them strength.
"Nathan was a Christian first and a soldier second," John Bouchard said. "That's our reassurance -- our peace that we have -- that he was where God wanted him to be."
Read more about Army Sergeant Nathan Kalani Bouchard in
and visit Nathan K. Bouchard's Guest Book.
Also killed were:
- Staff Sgt. Jeremy W. Doyle, 24, of Chesterton, Md.
- Spc. Ray M. Fuhrmann, II, 28, of Novato, Calif.
- Pfc. Timothy J. Seamans, 20, of Jacksonville, Fla.