One seemed destined to become a military hero. One "was born" to fight in the Army. Another was "a good guy" with a wife and two kids.
The three Green Berets who died in Afghanistan after a U.S. bomb missed its target are being hailed as heroes -- dedicated servicemen who lost their lives doing the jobs they loved.
To friends who knew Staff Sgt. Brian Cody Prosser when he starred on the high school football team and worked at the local lumberyard, it seemed all but inevitable that he would go on to good things in the military.
"When he went into the Army that was his dream, to become an Army Ranger," recalled Glenn Wilson, a former football buddy.
Prosser, 28, of Frazier Park, Calif., Master Sgt. Jefferson Donald Davis, 39, of Watauga, Tenn., and Sgt. 1st Class Daniel Petithory, 32, of Cheshire, Mass., died Wednesday after a U.S. bomb missed its Taliban target north of Kandahar. All were members of the Army's 3rd Battalion, 5th Special Forces Group, stationed at Fort Campbell, Ky.
The mayor of Hopkinsville, Ky., said Thursday that most residents know someone in the special forces at the nearby base.
"Hopkinsville's relationship with Fort Campbell is a family-like relationship, and it's a loss for us as well," said Mayor Rich Liebe.
Twenty other U.S. soldiers were wounded in the accident. Five Afghan fighters also were killed.
The death of Prosser left his small town in the mountains of Los Padres National Forest devastated but at the same time bursting with pride to have known a man considered a hero.
"He was a leader, a warrior and proud to be a soldier," said Prosser's 22-year-old brother, Jarudd Prosser. "He's my role model."
Prosser lived in nearby Bakersfield with his wife, Shawna. But the family home for years has been located in Frazier Park, a bucolic mountain town with an old-fashioned Main Street that appears still anchored in 1950s America. It's a popular day-trip destination with Los Angeles residents 50 miles away
"This whole community is affected. The Prosser name is pretty renowned here," said Carla Johnston, who said she has known Prosser all his life and whose husband, Joshua, attended Maricopa High School with him.
Petithory grew up in western Massachusetts and "always wanted to be an Army man," said his brother, Michael. "He was born to do it."
The communications specialist, who had also served in the Gulf War, proudly wore his Green Beret uniform when he made trips home to Cheshire, a town of 3,600 in the Berkshire Mountains near the Vermont border.
He was single and had no children, his brother said.
"He died doing a job he loved, for the country he loved," said his sister Nicole, 20.
Davis, 39, made a career in the military. He had a wife and two children, who live in Clarksville, Tenn., just outside Fort Campbell.
At the Davis home, less than two miles from the Army installation, dozens of people dropped by to pay their condolences, including members of the family's church who arrived in a van. They declined to speak to reporters.
His family was proud of his service, cousin Penny McCracken told the Johnson City (Tenn.) Press.
"He was always a good guy," she said.
Brainerd Dispatch ©2013. All Rights Reserved.