CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - Army Sgt. Aaron X. Wittman, a 2007 Citadel graduate, has died in action in Afghanistan, according to Citadel school officials.
Wittman, 28, was killed Jan. 10 in Khogyani District, Nangarhar Province when his unit was attacked by small arms fire while on mounted patrol. He was assigned to the 3rd Battalion, 69th Armor Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, Fort Stewart, Ga.
"I'll never forget Aaron's humor and optimism, even in the worst of situations," said Wesley Walker, a 2007 Citadel graduate.
School officials say Wittman was the first U.S. casualty of 2013. A former member of Lima Company, Wittman is the 18th alumnus to be killed in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. Wittman was on his second combat deployment and had previously been awarded a Bronze Star and a Purple Heart.
As a cadet Wittman was presented with the Marine Corps Association Award for high endeavor and superior accomplishment during four years of study at The Citadel. Wittman had a strong connection to The Citadel. His father Maj. Duane L. Wittman, USA, Ret., was a '75 graduate. His brother 1st Lt. Nicholas R. Wittman, USMC graduated in '03. And his sister-in-law 1st Lt. Rikki Felts Wittman, USMC, graduated in '04.
"Aaron always liked having fun. He was a genuine person who got along with almost everyone. He always did what was asked of him and he always put his best effort forth," said Lionel Grébert, '07.
Citadel alumni serving in Afghanistan will be holding a memorial service for Wittman at Bagram Air Base.