A local soldier killed in Afghanistan this weekend will be buried at Arlington National cemetery.
A memorial for Staff Sergeant Jonathan Schmidt will be held Monday at Fort Bragg, that will be followed by a burial at Arlington.
Staff Sergeant Jonathan Schmidt was killed in Operation Enduring Freedom, just days before he was due to come home.
Friends say Staff Sergeant Jonathan Schmidt knew he wanted to serve his country early in life.
"John was all about joining the military from the time I met him," says Paul Pruitt, a long time friend. "It's just who he was."
Pruitt met Schmidt when they were teenagers. Pruitt was younger at Prince George High School, when Schmidt attended Thomas Dale High School.
"He's one of the closes things to a brother I've ever had," says Pruitt.
Schmidt joined the Army first. Then he convinced Pruitt and another friend, Richard Scott, to enlist, as well.
"My friends were in the military and they looked like they were having fun, and helping people and that's something I always wanted to do," says Pruitt.
Rosemary Scott, Richard's mother, says the men remained friends despite their various moves and deployments. Schmidt was stationed at Fort Bragg.
"They knew they could pick up the phone, whether it's been three months or three years, and it was like they never left each other," she said.
The men tell us they always looked to Staff Sgt. Schmidt for guidance.
"John was definitely a special person. I never met anybody else like him," says Pruitt.
Unfortunately on September 1, the men found out Schmidt had been killed in Afghanistan while serving in a special operations unit. Schmidt had already been on at least five deployments and was supposed to be home in two weeks.
"I'm sure he was doing what he loved, and that's how he died," says Pruitt.
He leaves behind a wife and a young son who lives in North Carolina.
"I hope they remember him for what he was: a loving father, a good soldier, and a good friend," says Pruitt.
Staff Sgt. Schmidt was 28 years old.
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