The 1000th American serviceman killed in Afghanistan had already fallen once to a hidden explosive.
Marine Cpl. Jacob C. Leitch was driving his Humvee over a bomb in Iraq that punched the dashboard radio into his face and broke his leg in two places. He spent two painful years recovering from that 2007 blast. The 24-year-old had written letters from his hospital bed begging to be put back on the front lines, and died less than a month into a desperately sought second tour.
The Texas Marine's death marks a grim milestone in the Afghanistan war. He was killed this week when he stepped on a land mine in Helmand province that ripped off his right arm.
An Associated Press tally shows Leicht is the 1,000th U.S. serviceman killed in the Afghan combat, nearly nine years after the first casualty was also a soldier from the San Antonio area.
"He said he always wanted to die for his country and be remembered," said Jesse Leicht, his younger brother. "He didn't want to die having a heart attack or just being an old man. He wanted to die for something."
The AP bases its tally on Pentagon reports of deaths suffered as a direct result of the Afghan conflict, including personnel assigned to units in Afghanistan, Pakistan or Uzbekistan.
Other news organizations count deaths elsewhere as part of Operation Enduring Freedom, which includes operations in the Philippines, the Horn of Africa and at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
© Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.