"John was always into the military," says Brian Hart. He and his wife, Alma, were hoping their son would go to college, "but when 9/11 happened, he was sure," Hart recalls. "He wanted to serve." John enlisted in September 2002 at age 19, drawing a place in the 173rd Airborne Brigade. By July, he was on the front line in Iraq and quickly realized that the Army had come to war unprepared. "He called me and said, 'Dad, we need body armor. Can you help?'" The next week, October 18, 2003, John and his commanding officer were killed in their unarmored humvee during a roadside ambush.