The latest American soldier to be killed in combat in Afghanistan was a recently-married Marine from Minnesota who had just begun his deployment this spring.
Cpl. Taylor Baune was just 21 years old, and he is well-remembered by his high school social studies teacher in Andover, who said he was not at all surprised when Baune enlisted.
"Taylor was a great fit for the military," said Jeff Thompson. "He had a lot of potential and a lot of promise -- and he obviously shined in the military."
His old neighborhood was surprised to learn Baune had died in combat on Wednesday, but the news was even tougher on his new wife who had just taken her vows on March 2 in Las Vegas.
His last message to her on Facebook came on May 25th, saying, "Good morning my love, it's like midnight as we just got back and going out again in a couple of hours, just wanted to say I love you and miss you."
Outside his father's Andover home, stars and stripes say what words can't -- and they mean a lot to those who knew him. Gary Baune told FOX 9 News his son was fearless and was always one to stand up and want to be first.
Gary Baune admitted that he did not want his son to join the military -- even offered his son money not to enlist, but his son wouldn't have any part of it. In fact, Gary Baune said his son desperately wanted to join the Marines because he wanted to become "the best of the best."
Taylor Baune's body will be flown home next week, and he will be buried at Fort Snelling.