COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - From the time he was a little boy, Specialist Isaac Johnson Jr. dreamed of serving his country.
"His father was a soldier and his uncle and grandfather so he wanted to go into the Army too. Even his cousins were in the military so he wanted to do it too," said Johnson's brother, Svonte Crouch.
The Spencer High grad and National Guardsman got his chance when he was deployed overseas in April of this year.
His family says it was his first tour of duty.
Then, this week came the call no military family ever wants to get.
Specialist Johnson and another Georgia native, 25-year-old Sergeant Brock Chavers Sr. from Statesboro, were killed in Afghanistan when an IED exploded near their HUM-V.
"I couldn't do anything but break down and cry. I had high hopes for him to come back but he isn't here now," Crouch said.
Now, his family is bracing themselves for a different type of homecoming and remembering the man they call their hero.
"He was such a good person and he's going to be missed," said Tajanique Johnson, his sister.
"He was just pleasant to be around and always made you laugh," added his grandmother, Dororthy Taylor.
"He died honorably. I'll just remember him being cheerful and happy. If he was here now, he'd want us to be happy. Everybody knows he's watching over us," Crouch said.
A spokesperson for the National Guard says the guardsmen's mission in Afghanistan is unknown.
We're told the bodies of Specialist Johnson and Sergeant Chavers are back stateside