Marine Cpl. and Tacoma native Collin Schaaff was one of the 15 Marines who passed away following a military plane crash in Mississippi early last week.
Schaaff was based out of Newburgh, New York's Stewart Air National Guard, where part of his job included loading ordinance onto planes.
Among those quoted was Tono Sablan, who was in a leadership class with Schaaff. He said Schaaff joining the Marines was the end-result of hard work and goal-setting, saying "The type of dedication that he had, if he was committed to something, he was going to go all the way." His mother added that he'd been set on being a Marine since he was 10 years old.
Schaaff graduated from Franklin Pierce High School in 2013 and joined the Marines at 19, following his completion of a special program that allowed him to earn his associate's degree early.
His father, Eric Schmieman, said that Schaaff served in a reconnaissance unit before going to Camp Lejeune in North Carolina to join the elite Raider command.
Schaaff and his wife, Mary Beth Schaaff, have a 1-year-old daughter with another daughter due in November. His funeral services will be in Tacoma.