Flags are flying at half staff in Pasadena in honor of resident Scott Studenmund, 24, a soldier who was among the five American troops killed in a friendly fire incident in Afghanistan earlier this week.
A 2008 alumnus of Flintridge Preparatory Academy, where he played several sports, and former Pitzer College student, Studenmund had close ties to many in the community.
“He was tenacious and strong and a great leader for the younger runners,” said Ingrid Herskind, a history teacher and boys cross country team coach at Flintridge Prep.
“I’m sure he was a fine leader for his troop mates and served them with all of his humor and support.”
Studenmund left Pitzer College after one year to enlist, something family friends said was a life-long dream. The Special Forces sniper spoke Arabic and was due home in August, according to a statement from his mother.
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“It’s just very raw right now,” said family friend Mary Lyons, who spoke for the family Tuesday. “You know when you send your child off to serve in the military, this is always the risk. But you just hope and pray that it doesn’t happen. But, you know, he wanted to do this.”
Studenmund will be buried at Arlington National Cemetery near his grandfather, Sen. Jack Miller of Iowa, and his grandmother, Isabelle Miller. The family will travel to the East Coast.
Pitzer College, with just more than 1,000 students, also said in a statement that its students and faculty were also saddened by the news.
“We remember him as a brave, intelligent and honorable young man who followed through on all of his commitments with excellence and integrity. He is fondly remembered for his big smile and engaging personality,” read the statement.
The flags in Pasadena will fly at half mast until next Tuesday, when the City Council will honor Studenmund, said Mayor Bill Bogaard.
“He’s an inspiration to me and as this city completes grieving over his loss, I know he’ll be an inspiration to the entire community,” Bogaard said.
Beverly White contributed to this report.