MIDLAND (WWJ/AP) – A 20-year-old U.S. Navy hospital corpsman from Midland who enlisted out of high school and was on his first deployment to Afghanistan has been killed in action, his mother said Wednesday.
The remains of Aaron Ullom are scheduled to arrive Thursday afternoon at Dover Air Force Base in Delaware. Ullom was serving with a Marine unit when he was killed Tuesday.
Ullom enlisted in the Navy after a recruiter visited his school, said his mother, Debi Bartley-Ullom. She said his first deployment to Afghanistan began in February.
“We are very proud of him,” Bartley-Ullom told The Midland Daily News. “He loved doing what he did. He loved being a Navy man. He will be missed by many.”
Ullom was on a training mission with Afghan troops when they came under fire from insurgents, his family told television stations WNEM and WWTV/WWUP. He was a 2009 graduate of Midland High School, where he played football and ran track.
Ullom “was definitely brave,” said Arielle Stoneburner, 20, of Midland, a friend and high school classmate.
“I know there were times when somebody needed help with something and it seemed like the most ridiculous thing they needed done, or something you would never find anybody to do, and here’d come Aaron, coming down the road, wanting to do it,” Stoneburner told The Saginaw News.
“He was really a hard-driven kid,” Stoneburner added. “He was one of those kids where if you went up to him and asked him a question, he would find out the answer for you no matter how long he had to work on getting it.”
Ware-Smith-Woolever Funeral Directors in Midland is handling funeral arrangements, which were incomplete Wednesday afternoon.
Ullom is the tenth member of the Armed Forces with Michigan ties to die in Afghanistan this year.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.