West Columbia, SC (WLTX) - A Citadel graduate was killed in action while serving in Afghanistan.
"You go from talking about someone then you find out they are killed in action," said Robby Jackson.
It's a story that unfortunately we hear too often.
"I guess it's just utter shock you don't want to believe it," said Jackson. "He is a hero, whether or not he saved thousands of lives, he gave his life for our freedom and that's what we are there for."
28 year old, Sgt. Aaron Wittman graduated from the Citadel; Jackson was his freshman roommate and longtime friend.
"When it is someone that you have known directly and lived with, I think it hits you a little bit harder."
Jackson says the thing he remembers most about Wittman is his infectious smile.
"You could be having the worst of days and he just gives you this grin man and you can't help but smile back at him."
Wittman's brother graduated from the Citadel the year before Robby and Aaron became freshman. When Robby found that out he thought the road to graduation would be easy because of the popularity from Aaron's brother.
"I was wrong; if anything it made our time a little bit harder just because of the fact that his brother was a Lima Company guy."
But despite the tough journey to finishing at the Citadel, Jackson says going through it with his brother Aaron made it worth doing.
"You create a bond that you can't get anywhere else, but through that experience and through those trials that you go through there and he definitely is a brother to all of us."
It makes Jackson sad to know that his friends life was taken too early, never being married or having children, but knowing that he died to protect us will give him peace.
"He was a great friend to us, he was a brother to us in Lima Company but he was a true American hero and he is."