Teacher: Fallen soldier was 'perfect fit for the military'

REEDSPORT, Ore. -- A classmate said a soldier from Gardiner, Ore. who was killed last week while on patrol in Afghanistan had a "quiet confidence" and a former teacher said he was a model soldier.

Capt. James Nehl, 37, was killed on Nov. 9 during an attack while on patrol in Afghanistan's Ghazni Province, according to the Department of Defense. Nehl was a graduate of Reedsport High School.

According to his high school teacher, Jim Wells, serving in the military is what Nehl wanted to do all along.

"Quiet guy, sincere, not a typical teenager, what you would say, very disciplined. I think he was living his dream and unfortunately died his dream. He wanted to be an Army Ranger," Wells said.

Nehl liked to hunt and fish. He was on the football, track and swimming teams, as well as a member of the National Honor Society.

Keith Tymchuk, another of Nehl's former teachers, said he didn't stand out from other students, but that's what made him such a perfect soldier.

"It speaks about James in that he was quiet and didn't call attention to himself and was just one of those people who wanted to do what was right," said Tymchuk.

Nehl was killed while fighting for Operation Enduring Freedom.

Wells said he was the "perfect fit for the military. Athletic, disciplined, he's the kind of guy you want on your side."

While he didn't stand out at school, a classmate said he stood out among his friends.

"Quiet confidence, that's the best way to describe him. An enemy of no one and a friend of everybody. He was a good man and even back then I knew he would do good things," said Ron Dukovich.