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Soldier dies in blast

September 28, 2012

A local soldier from Fredonia has died in Afghanistan from a roadside bombing. Fredonia native Army Sgt. Jonathan “Nathan” Gollnitz passed away Wednesday while deployed.

Gollnitz, 28, was killed in a roadside attack that also killed another soldier. Gollnitz joined the Navy right after high school then later joined the Army. He previously spent a tour in Iraq and was recently deployed to Afghanistan within the past few months. According to family friend Wendy Eimers, Gollnitz always wanted to join the Navy.

“He joined right after high school. It was something he had wanted to do his entire life,” Eimers said. “He had his goals and that was to be in the Navy. He said, ‘I have to go to protect my son (Lukas).'”

Eimers’ son, Josh, and Gollnitz were close growing up and Gollnitz stayed with the Eimers’ family, even when he enlisted. Eimers most recently talked with Gollnitz late last week and he knew something was not right.

“He sent me an instant message and said ‘I don’t think I’m coming home this time.’ We just thought he was being Jon,” Eimers said. “He said, ‘If I don’t come back, it’s God’s will.'”

Even if he didn’t have a good feeling about his deployment, Gollnitz was excited about a trip he had booked to Spain early next year. Gollnitz was previously injured in Afghanistan by an improvised explosive device (IED) less than a month ago.

He was transferred to Germany, and just recently returned to work with his unit.

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