The Iraq war death of David Emanuel Hickman will forever hold a special meaning, while he suffered the same fate as nearly 4,500 of his fellow American soldiers he was also the last American soldier to fall in the region.
The 23-year-old soldier was killed on Nov. 14, 2011 when an improvised explosive device was detonated, he was just one month away from leaving the war torn country as the final US troops left Iraq.
Speaking about the fallen soldiers life his friends and family called him a jokester who was given the nickname “Zeus” because he joked that his physique was so impressive that the gods would be envious.
An outside linebacker in high school his school had to scrape their complicated defense after he graduated because nobody else could figure out how to run the plays.
Hickman joined the military with the specific goal of becoming a member of the Special Forces, as a friend put it he “didn’t sign up to get his life on track. He wanted to be a physically and mentally elite soldier.”
Speaking of his life a friend told the Washington Post:
“There aren’t enough facts available for me to have a defined opinion about things. I’m just sad, and pray that my best friend didn’t lay down his life for nothing.”
Even by military standards Hickman died at the young age of 23 when the average age for fallen soldiers is 26, although approximately 1,300 fallen were 22 or younger.
It’s hard to lose a loved one, it’s even harder to realize their life could have been saved if the United States had just pulled out of the country one month earlier.
Our condolences go out to the family, friends and fellow soldiers of David Emanuel Hickman.