Family and friends are mourning the death of Army Sgt. Nicholas Dickhut, 23, of Rochester, who was killed in Afghanistan Sunday.
Dickhut died during a fire fight while on a mission with an infantry regiment attached to the 82nd Airborne Division, according to his mother Jacqueline Carson.
"I don't even want to think about the fact that he's never coming home," Carson said. "All the plans that he had made and all the things we talked about, it's just never going to happen. I really thought he was going to make it. I really did."
Dickhut had been in Afghanistan for a little over six months, according to Carson. He worked as a forward observer, responsible for knowing the position and movements of his fellow troops as well as those of the opposing forces. It was his second overseas deployment.
Dickhut joined the Army after graduating from Stewartville High School, according to his mother. During his junior and senior years of high school, he also enrolled in post-secondary classes at Rochester Community and Technical College and was a credit shy of earning his associate's degree.
Carson, an Army veteran herself, described her son as an adventurous, kind, funny young man. She said he joined the Army to try to figure out what he wanted to do for the rest of his life.
"He always could find the humor in anything, in any situation, and he loved his younger brother very very much," she said.
News of Dickhut's death came a day after his family had gathered at his Rochester home to celebrate his younger brother David's 9th birthday, according to his stepfather Randy Carson.
"He called to wish his brother a happy birthday and told him he had to cut it short because he had to go on a mission," said Carson. "And that just happened to be the mission that took his life."
Funeral services for Dickhut are pending.