Corporal Preston Medley from Baker, Florida was killed Tuesday in Afghanistan during an early morning mission. His family and friends say Preston was a special person and will be missed by many.
Twenty-three-year-old paratrooper Corporal Preston Medley lived by his promise to serve, honor and protect our country. He died defending it.
Preston's father says he remembers when his son took that oath.
Raybon Medley, Preston's father, said, "Instead of a young man, he looked like a man, you know, just so proud to serve his country."
Tuesday afternoon Medley's loved ones received the devastating news that he would not return home the vehicle medley was riding-in, struck a road-side bomb, and the family's worst nightmare came true.
"It's just so much harder to hear that he just got blown up in a vehicle instead of fighting face to face, fair. That's what hurts so bad. He didn't have a chance."
Friends and family say Preston beamed with pride when he talked about his wife, his one-year-old daughter, Raylynn, and his unborn son due in December.
His sister remembers his contagious smile and says Medley enjoyed teasing the people closest to him. Long-time friends say Preston's untimely death has left a void in the world that no one can ever replace.
Derek Elmore, Preston's friend, said, "He's absolutely irreplaceable. I'll never get over it."
In July, before Medley deployed for his 15-month tour in Afghanistan, he wrote a message addressed to his entire family and friends. He declared his love for his wife and children and pledged to give his all while at war.
"I am so hurt to be leaving, but this is what I joined for and I am going to make as big of a difference over there so my family will not have to live in fear."
"We're so proud of him. We'll always remember him as a fun, happy, just outgoing person that tried to do everything he could to make things better."
Corporal Medley will be buried next to his mother in Pyron Chapel Cemetery in Baker. A memorial service will be held at a later date.