LEBANON, Ohio - It's been a difficult time for the family of Army Sgt. First Class Bobby Estle. The 38-year-old Lebanon native was killed over the weekend in Afghanistan.
His wife and other relatives went to Dover Air Force Base in Delaware Monday to escort his body back to Lebanon.
Some friends stopped by the home of his in-laws Monday knowing something was wrong.
"He's gone," said Richard Marston, Sgt. Estle's father-in-law to some family friends.
"He got shot," he added with his voice breaking.
Sgt. Estle spent 19 years in the army. He worked with an engineering division. He did two tours in Iraq and two tours in Afghanistan. His wife, Monica last spoke to him the day before he died, according to her father.
"He marched in parades and he was just an all around great man," said Marston.
"He's my hero. I'm 69 years old and I can honestly say this is one of my first heroes."
Marston said the last time Sgt. Estle was home, he made sure he moved his wife and daughter to the Lebanon area to be closer to her family. Marston believes he had a premonition.
"He must've knew that something bad was going to happen because of making that statement to my wife. You know, like 'I might not be back' and, 'Please take care of her (Monica).'"
The family was looking forward to Sgt. Estle returning home in 10 days for leave. His plan was to finish out his time in the Army as a drill sergeant.
"He was stern. But, he was doing it not to hurt you, but to help you," said his father-in-law.
Sgt. Estle didn't talk to the family a lot about what he saw during his tours in Iraq and Afghanistan.
"If you ask him how are things going over there, he'd never want to talk about it," said Marston. "He didn't want us to worry. But, you normally worry if you got a person over there in that type of environment."
Marston considers all soldier killed in action heroes. But, he added, "Bring 'em home. Just bring 'em home."
Sgt. Estle leaves behind his wife, three children, parents, other relatives and friends. Funeral services are pending.
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It was a rare moment in relations between the media and the government: In 2008, FBI Director Robert Mueller called the top editors at The New York Times and The Washington Post to apologize because the bureau had improperly obtained reporters' telephone records four years earlier.