NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) - A graduate of Old Dominion University was killed last week while serving in Afghanistan, according to the Pentagon.
Robert Hess, 26, of Fairfax, Va. was killed April 23 in Pul-E-Alam. He was injured by indirect enemy fire. According to the Department of Defense, Hess was assigned to the 2nd Aviation Battalion, 10th Conmbat Aviation Brigade, 10th Mountain Division in Ft. Drum, N.Y.
"He really was dedicated and knew what he wanted to do," Hess' swimming coach at ODU Carol Withus said. "I believe it was his first time over in Afghanistan and I believe he was there for only two weeks." added.
Withus said Hess knew he wanted to be in the military when he graduted.
"With his dad in the military he really wanted to be like his dad and fulfill that dream," Withus said.
Before Hess enlisted, he spent his time in the pool for the Monarchs. Withus says every swimmer has a certain amount of dedication but Hess took it to another level.
"When you're a swimmer in division one athletics you're here 20 hours a week," Withus said. "On top of that you have ROTC which adds another 15 hours week of training and certain classes you have to take."
Hess' awards include the Purple Hear, Bronze Star, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, the NATO Medal and the Combat Action Badge, according to ODUSports.com .
"If RJ were to die this is the way he wanted to die," Withus said. "He probably wanted to fly planes a little longer, but he was a great person who wanted to serve his country like his dad. We have to be proud of him."
Hess will be laid to rest May 15 at 11a.m. He will be buried at Arlington National Cemetery.
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