Mid-South soldier killed in Afghanistan - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Reported by Jamel Major

Mid-South soldier killed in Afghanistan

DYERSBURG, Tenn. (WMC-TV) - Keith Eric Essary, 20, was killed in Afghanistan on Thursday when he came under hostile fire.

Specialist Essary, a 2006 graduate of Dyer County High School, spent the last eight months serving in Afghanistan with the U.S. Army's 101st Airborne division.

People in the Dyer Co. community are honoring the memory of a young man whom, they say, died doing what he loved most - defending his country.

"Any loss of a soldier is a tragedy for us. This is even more of a tragedy because it's personal," said Retired U.S. Army 1st Sgt. Tim McCutchen.

Essary was an active member of the Junior ROTC at his high school, where he was taught by McCutcheon and Lt. Col. Fred Eades.

"I was closer to Keith than any other student," said McCutcheon. "He just had one of those personalities. He was an easy kid to like."

Essary was a leader who stood above the rest, they said.

"He was a cadet captain," said Eades. "He was a drill team commander. He was also a rifle team commander...and those jobs were not just given to anyone. You had to earn those jobs."

McCutchen and Eades say they're proud of the sacrifices Essary made for his hometown and country.

"Even as a military guy, you hate to lose anybody - especially a young soldier," said Eades.

Essary is the second soldier from Dyer County to be killed in combat in the last 3 years.

Click here to e-mail Jamel Major.

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