Elite Navy SEALs member Aaron Carson Vaughn, 30, had asked the military to return him to combat and shipped out just six weeks before he was killed when a U.S. military helicopter was shot down in Afghanistan, killing 22 SEALs. Eight other U.S. service members, seven Afghan commandos and an interpreter also died.
It was Vaughn's Tennessee accent that set him apart when he and his family moved to Florida. That's where Long Beach resident Michelle Santis first met the future Navy SEAL. They were friends, classmates and members of the same church.
Santis learned of Vaughn's death through messages on Facebook and Twitter.
"At first hearing he had died knowing he was in the military, I was shocked," she said. "To me I feel he stuck out in a lot of ways. He definitely was a man of character and maturity."
Vaugh had served in Iraq and Afghanistan. Vaughn returned to combat six weeks ago after the birth of his daughter.