Haw River, NC -- US Army Corporal Pruitt Rainey, 22, from North Carolina died Sunday in Afghanistan.
He was one of the nine troops killed Sunday when insurgents attacked a US held base.
"I just had this sinking feeling as soon as I saw it on the news. I literally about started to cry," said Jeff Terrell, Rainey's church youth leader and friend.
"I told my wife, I said, 'That's where Pruitt's at.' I said, 'We need to pray because that's exactly where they're at,'" Terrell said.
Rainey is from Haw River in Alamance County. He graduated from Graham High School in 2004. He was on the school's wrestling team.
"Pruitt was such a strong person and you just never imagined that something like that would happen to him," said Melinda Smith, one of Rainey's friends and youth leaders at Glen Hope Baptist Church.
Rainey helped children in Vacation Bible School and enjoyed spending time time with his church youth group, according to friends.
"He would do anything for anybody. He wouldn't let anything happen to you," said Tyler Allred, one of Rainey's friends.
"To know that someone of my own age has already finished life really hits me hard," said friend Nikki Clifton.
Rainey attended Campbell University after graduating high school, but his family said after about a year, he enlisted in the Army. He was stationed in Italy and deployed to Afghanistan in May 2007.
"He knew he had a purpose there, but he was anxious to get out of there. He wanted to come home. He missed his family," said Terrell.
Rainey was last home in North Carolina in September, according to his aunt, Tina Gordon.
Rainey's tour was almost over. He had about three weeks left to go, Gordon said.
"On the day he was supposed to come home, it's going to be a pretty hard day," said friend Sarah Forrester.
His family said in December Rainey would have moved from Italy to Fort Bragg.
"Some people may turn bitter about a situation like this, but even as I've seen the flag in the last two or three days, there's an honor that is raised in my heart that this young man served well," said his uncle, David Gordon.
An Army representative met with the family Wednesday afternoon. The family told WFMY News 2 that Rainey's body is still in Delaware and it could take about week before it arrives in North Carolina.
According to an Associated Press article, United States troops have pulled out the outpost where Cpl. Pruitt Rainey was killed.
WFMY News 2