Wittman became the first U.S. combat loss of 2013 when he died in Afghanistan during a patrol on Jan. 10. He'd earned both a Purple Heart and Bronze Star.
Army Sgt. Aaron X. Wittman, 28, became the first U.S. combat loss of the new year when he died in Afghanistan on Jan. 10.
The Department of Defense said Wittman was on mounted patrol in Khogyani District, Nangarhar Province, Afghanistan, when his unit was attacked with small arms fire. He died from injuries sustained during the attack.
Wittman, who was on his second combat deployment to Afghanistan, came from Chester, Va., located about 20 minutes south of Richmond. He joined the Army in October 2008 and earned the Purple Heart and Bronze Star medals during his service, according to a press release from the Fort Stewart-Hunter Army Airfield in Georgia.
According to the Richmond Times-Dispatch, Wittman was a graduate of The Citadel military college of South Carolina.
The Times-Dispatch quoted Wittman's brother, Nick Wittman, as saying the sergeant was outgoing and had many friends.
"He just lived every minute of his life. He loved fishing. He loved crabbing," Nick Wittman said in the Times-Dispatch interview.
He went on, "I'm proud of him, and I'm proud of his service."
Wittman's death while supporting Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan was the first U.S. combat casualty of 2013.
Wittman was assigned to the 3rd Battalion, 69th Armor Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, Fort Stewart, Ga.
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