Newport, New Hampshire - March 7, 2007
22-year-old Justin Rollins was a gunner with the 82nd Airborne Division. He was killed doing what he loved after a roadside bomb exploded near his vehicle. It was not the first time the Newport native came under enemy attack.
"Back in December, Justin has a close call. Justin had close call. A roadside bomb, he was wounded. He spent a week or so in the hospital. He wanted to get right back with his unit," said former teacher Marshall Barrett.
Marshall Barrett taught Rollins for three years. Barrett says the army specialist was a special soul.
"Typical teenage boy, loved to have fun. If he got in trouble he had that golden smile that would just melt you," Barrett said.
"Her liked to play mischievous jokes on people but he always ended that with a smile on his face and a laugh and that is one of the things that I think we will all remember most about him," said former teach Bill Thurlow.
Thurlow was Rollins' senior class advisor and a social studies teacher at the school. He is currently teaching a lesson on wounded soldiers in Iraq and says Rollins' death hits close to home.
"This is a small town. A fortunately we have not had to go through anything like this in a long time. It just has a very sobering effect and it brings the realities of the war home to everybody," Thurlow said.
The flag in front of Newport High School is being flown at half-staff. Teachers say it is a sign of remembrance and reverence for a fellow student and soldier who paid the ultimate sacrifice.
Adam Sullivan - Channel 3 News