A Minnesota native was killed in Iraq in a helicopter accident on Monday.
Philip Windorski Jr. was one of four Americans killed in the single deadliest incident for U.S. troops in four months.
Windorski grew up in Grand Rapids, and was recently stationed at Fort Drum, New York.
Philip Windorski flew Kiowa helicopters. It's a single-engine, armed reconnaissance helicopter.
His mother, Ruth Windorski, said her son was "a great pilot and he loved the Army more than anything."
He was close to retirement but planning to reenlist.
On Monday, his helicopter and one other crashed. The U.S. military says the crash did not appear to be a result of hostile fire.
Erika Thompson of Watkins Minnesota graduated from Grand Rapids High School with Windorski in 1991.
"I had Philip in a few classes, and I just remember he was a pretty good guy, friendly to everybody, and just a really good friend... Didn't have a bad word to say about anybody," Thompson said.
Thompson said she wasn't surprised her friend became a helicopter pilot.
"I don't remember him ever talking about that, but I know he was kind of a -- not stern, I don't really know how to put it. He just was kind of a tougher nice guy."
Windorski was on his third tour of duty in Iraq. He was 36, and he leaves behind a wife and three children.
His death brings to 75 the number of people with strong Minnesota ties who have died in connection with the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
(The Associated Press contributed to this report)