JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A deployment ceremony was held in March for the Army Reserve's 1186th Transportation Company, 831st Transportation Battalion in Jacksonville as it left for Afghanistan.
Capt. Bruce MacFarlane, of Oviedo, one of the men in that unit, died Friday in Kandahar, Afghanistan. He was a 24-year military veteran.
"It kind of surprises you because you go, 'Oh, no. Man, I remember talking to him a couple months ago,'" said Sgt. Charles Fails, a 41-year veteran.
Fails shares a special bond with the fallen hero. The two left together in 2008, one of their many deployments to serve their country.
MacFarlane's unit left in March for Afghanistan to take the place of Fails' 1173rd unit. Each of these units' main mission in Afghanistan is to help the military pack up as the war winds down.
"When they came in, we were telling them how things were going, who was working with who," Fails said.
MacFarlane's death was non-combat related and is currently under investigation. He leaves behind his wife and two children.
The 1186th unit is heartbroken over the loss of their fellow soldier, and Fails said even after his 41 years of service, losing someone gets harder each time.
"You try and bring everybody back. You hope to bring everybody back," he said. "We do and always will take care of our own."
The rest of MacFarlane's unit is expected to return in January.