Above all things, Chief Warrant Officer Aaron Weaver was a survivor. As a 22-year-old sergeant, Weaver was part of the 1993 Battle of Mogadishu in Somalia — where 18 U.S. Army soldiers lost their lives.
The fight was chronicled in the movie “Black Hawk Down.”
In Mogadishu, Weaver's vehicle took a direct hit from a rocket-propelled grenade, but he wasn't injured.
He later spoke in a TV documentary about his experience and on seeing one of the Black Hawks crash.
“And you could see a helicopter just lose that thrust when it hit the tail rotor and started spinning around ... and I lost it behind that building,” Weaver said.
Later, Weaver earned his wings as an army aviator in Iraq, piloting a Kiowa Warrior helicopter — battling Iraqi guerrillas while also fighting testicular cancer.
"He was an Army Ranger. Tough mentally and tough physically," said Mike Weaver, Aaron Weaver's father.
Weaver’s parents say Weaver so wanted to serve in Iraq, he convinced doctors to sign a waiver allowing him to go despite his cancer.
“He was proud to be a Ranger. And proud to be a pilot,” said Kelly Weaver, his mother.
He was riding in the back of a medical evacuation helicopter Wednesday, on his way to a routine medical checkup, when the chopper crashed.
Weaver and eight other soldiers died.
“He died doing what he was proud doing,” his mother said. “He would want me to say that if he was here.”
Aaron Weaver was supposed to finally come home next month. He leaves behind a wife and 1-year-old daughter.
His brother, a Black Hawk pilot also serving in Iraq, is on his way home now, hoping to say goodbye to a proud soldier who survived so much — and sacrificed everything.