By John Rutherford, Producer, NBC News, Washington
Those nine soldiers killed last week in the attack on their remote Afghan outpost were all young - the oldest was 27- and they all had big plans for their futures.
Cpl. Pruitt Rainey, 22, a star high school wrestler back home in Haw River, N.C., wanted to become a physical education teacher and a wrestling coach.
"Kids loved him," his church pastor told the Burlington (N.C.) Times-News. "He would have been very good at it."
Cpl. Jason Hovater, 24, grew up in a deeply religious family in Clinton, Tenn.
"While he was in the Army, he realized his true calling was to be a worship leader," his sister told the Knoxville News Sentinel.
Cpl. Jason Bogar, 25, of Seattle, Wash., wasn't sure if he wanted to re-up, attend art school, or try something else.
"He talked of wanting to be an international correspondent and take pictures of places, all over the world," his mother told the Seattle Times.
Others were content staying right where they were in the Army.
Cpl. Jonathan Ayers, 24, of Snellville, Ga., was a perfect fit.
"He liked spit-and-polish type things," his dad told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. "He would fuss at us if our shoes weren't cleaned just right."
Sgt. Israel Garcia, 24, of Long Beach, Calif., was on his third overseas tour of duty.
"He's a true fallen hero," his sister-in-law told the Long Beach Press Telegram.
First Lt. Jonathan Brostrom, 24, of Aiea, Hawaii, decided to follow in the military footsteps of his father, a retired Army colonel.
"It made me proud, yes," his father told the Honolulu Advertiser.
Cpl. Gunnar Zwilling, 20, of Florissant, Mo., initially planned to be a "lifer," but he changed his mind and decided to attend a commercial pilot school after he shot and killed a 16-year-old boy who failed to stop at a checkpoint.
"He had enough killing," his father told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. "That changed his outlook on re-enlisting."
Pfc. Sergio Abad, 21, of Coral Gables, Fla., just wanted to get home to his pregnant fiance in South Florida, and Cpl. Matthew Phillips, 27, of Jasper, Ga., planned his own funeral while home on leave over Christmas.
"I'd always tell him, 'You're going to be fine, you're coming home, the odds are with you,'" Phillips's dad told the Journal-Constitution.
The nine soldiers died one week before they were due home from 15-month tours in Afghanistan.
1. Army Master Sgt. Mitchell Young, 39, of Jonesboro, Ga.
2. Army 1st Lt. Jonathan Brostrom, 24, of Aiea, Hawaii.
3. Army Sgt. Israel Garcia, 24, of Long Beach, Calif.
4. Army Cpl. Jonathan Ayers, 24, of Snellville, Ga.
5. Army Cpl. Jason Bogar, 25, of Seattle, Wash.
6. Army Cpl. Jason Hovater, 24, of Clinton, Tenn.
7. Army Cpl. Matthew Phillips, 27, of Jasper, Ga.
8. Army Cpl. Pruitt Rainey, 22, of Haw River, N.C.
9. Army Cpl. Gunnar Zwilling, 20, of Florissant, Mo.
10. Army Pfc. Sergio Abad, 21, of Coral Gables, Fla.
11. Marine Lance Cpl. Jeffery Stevenson, 20, of Newton, N.J.
12. Navy Petty Officer Daniel Verbeke, 25, of Exton, Pa.
13. Army Staff Sgt. Jeremy Vrooman, 28, of Sioux Falls, S.D.
14. Army Staff Sgt. David Textor, 27, of Roanoke, Va.
15. Marine Staff Sgt. Danny Dupre, 28, of Lockport, La.
16. Army Pfc. Willington Rhoads, 23, of Paris, Ill.
17. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Jackie Larsen, 37, of Tacoma, Wash.
18. Marine 1st Lt. Jason Mann, 29, of Woodlynne, N.J.
Washington Producer John Rutherford is a decorated Vietnam veteran. He also posts stories on the military at www.fieldnotes.msnbc.com (click on "John Rutherford" under "categories") and at http://john-rutherford.newsvine.com. The tribute gallery can be found at http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/22802019/.