|Sister, friend share memories of Yuba City soldier|
U.S. Army Spc. Chase S. Marta, 24, was one of three soldiers killed in Ghazni province when his unit was hit by an improvised explosive device. Wednesday, May 9, 2012.Read more: http://www.appeal-democrat.com/articles/ci
Most Viewed Stories
Family, friends mourn Yuba City soldier killed in Afghanistan
He had planned to pop the question as soon as he returned home from Afghanistan.
But U.S. Army Spc. Chase S. Marta, 24, will not be returning home.
Marta, a 2006 Yuba City High School graduate, was one of three soldiers killed Monday in Ghazni province when his unit was hit by an improvised explosive device, according to the U.S. Defense Department.
He had been part of the storied 82nd Airborne Division, headquartered in Fort Bragg, N.C., assigned to the 73rd Cavalry Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team.
Marta enlisted in October 2010 and had been in-country for only six weeks, according to family members.
"I am proud of him," said his mother, Karyn Stone. On Wednesday, she stood in the dining room of the north Yuba City home where her two children had grown up. "His friends were all here earlier. I just wanted him to walk through the door."
Circumstances of the incident that killed Stone's son, as well as Sgt. Jacob M. Schwallie, 22, of Clarksville, Tenn., and Pfc. Dustin D. Gross of Jeffersonville, Ky., have not yet been made public by defense officials.
Family members had been gearing up for the wedding of Chase Marta's sister, Taylor Marta — scheduled for Memorial Day weekend — when they received the news about Chase.
Still stunned, they gathered to talk about the man they said they will miss very deeply.
Marta had been recently promoted from the rank of private first-class to specialist, but hadn't yet told his family. He hadn't let on either about his plan to propose marriage to his girlfriend, Taylor Silva, also of Yuba City.
Silva learned about it from her mother.
"He was funny that way," Stone said. "He was a private person."
He had been proud of his recently acquired airborne status, and was happy to be deployed, his family members said.
"But he wasn't one of these people you could have imagined saying, 'I wanna go fight,'" said his sister, Taylor Marta, 27.
"He just wanted to do something right and noble," she said.
Friends and family members remembered Chase as an enthusiastic cook who insisted on teaching them how to prepare sushi.
His mother said he was a stickler for following rules, something she teased him about.
"He drove like a little old man," Stone said.
But she recalled seeing a truly tender-hearted side of her son early in his life, when he caught his first fish. "He couldn't stand to watch it gasping for air. He put it back in the water," she said.
Close friends and family members took photographs at the Sacramento Airport before the soldier boarded a plane to return to Fort Bragg after his last visit home at Christmas.
It was the last time they would see him alive.
"We had just shaved his head the night before," said Benjamin Wachman, Chase Marta's closest friend since childhood.
The two had been on the Yuba City High swim team together.
"He was like my brother," Wachman said.
Wachman said he never feared for his friend's safety.
"Living so close to Beale (Air Force Base), we've known so many people who have come back and are just fine," he said.
Before his enlistment, Chase Marta had been a student at CSU Channel Islands and Butte College.
"But he wasn't super in-love with school," said Taylor Marta. "He found his niche in the Army. He wanted to do that more than anything else."
Stone said her son finished first in his basic training at Fort Benning, Ga.
"He was a smart kid. He could have picked any profession he wanted," she said.
Chase Marta's decision to join the Army, after considering the other military branches, surprised Stone.
"He was kind of a war history buff, and he especially loved the history of the Army," she said.
An outspoken critic of the war in Afghanistan, Stone said she nonetheless accepted her son's choice right away.
"I am totally against the war, but totally for the armed forces," Stone said. The military "is what keeps us free."
Taylor Marta said that like Wachman, she had never given a second thought to the danger her brother was facing during his deployment.
"You think that everything's going to be fine," she said. "This is just the kind of thing you hear in the news."
CONTACT Nancy Pasternack at npasternack@appealdemocrat. com or 749-4781. Find her on Facebook at /ADnpasternack or on Twitter at @ADnpasternack.