MARIANNA, Ark. (WMC-TV) - An Arkansas soldier was killed in Afghanistan Thursday when the platoon her led came under fire by enemy insurgents.
1st Lt. Tyler Parten is being remembered as a hero in the small town of Marianna, where a flag flew at half-staff in his honor Saturday.
"He was a mighty, mighty man," said family friend Kay Young.
Another family friend, Patsy Buford, said the family, and the community, is stricken with grief.
"I knew he was right in the thick of it, leading a patrol," she said.
Buford keeps photos of Parten and his brother, Daniel, on her refrigerator. Daniel followed his older brother to the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, where Parten graduated two years ago.
"He had accomplished a lot in his 24 years," Buford said.
Photos from Parten's Facebook page tell the story of his accomplished life. The Army officer was fluent in Arabic and planned to complete a master's degree in France.
Friends say he always found time to visit his family back home, and even speak at his church.
"And the last time I saw him he led the singing for us," said Young.
For a young man whom friends say could have done anything with his life, Parten chose to serve his country first.
"When things like this happen, you just have to leave it up to God," said Young.
Funeral arrangements for Lt. Parten have not yet been made.