AMELIA, Ohio -- Pvt. Timothy Ashcraft spent part of the summer at Put-In Bay, Ohio, enjoying a family vacation that was meant to be a last hurrah before he traveled to Fort Jackson for Army training.
He never made it to a deployment.
Ashcraft, an Amelia grad, was one of two privates killed when a military vehicle struck them Oct. 9 while they stood in formation at Fort Jackson. Military officials called the incident a "tragic accident" and promised to investigate thoroughly.
"(Timothy) was where he was supposed to be, so we do feel like he was at least very happy there," his aunt, Christina Vittoz, said. "This is not anything we thought we'd have to worry about at this time."
He'd been passionate about serving in the military, Vittoz said Monday -- so much so that he asked his parents to help him enlist before his 18th birthday.
Vittoz described Ashcraft as a "mellow, calm person" who loved his family. He had no siblings of his own, but assumed a big-brother role to his cousins, whom Vittoz said were devastated by his death.
Although he never got the chance to prove himself in the field, Vittoz said she wanted the world to know how much he had wanted to serve.
"I don't want it to be one of those situations because he didn't die in a war that people don't remember him and remember the fact that he did step up," she said. "He did want to make a difference in this world and fight for his country."