HUNTSVILLE, AL (WAFF) - SSG Jeffrey Hall of Huntsville was one of four soldiers who died in an IED attack Monday in Afghanistan. Now his family wants you to know a little bit more about the noble life their fallen hero led.
Hall wanted to be a Ranger in the United States Army for a long time. His family tells WAFF 48 News he enlisted in the Army in 2000 and in 2005 became a Ranger, a position that carries a lot of prestige.
His mother said she can remember when he was two years old, running around in camos, buying anything he could in the Army surplus store.
Hall was also the type of guy fellow soldiers would come to with their problems. His family says he succeeded far beyond he had ever thought and for his service and character, they are forever proud.
It's not everyday you meet a hero, but since the day Hall walked into each of seven lives, he was just that.
His mother, Annette Hall, said, "He was loyal and loving and tender and yet he was a hardcore soldier. He was loyal and loving and tender and yet he was a hardcore soldier and we loved him dearly and he was doing what he wanted to do."
More than anything, his family said he loved his wife and 11-month-old daughter, Audrey Faith.
"Seeing him with Audrey was just, he was this big, ol', tough, bad guy, but when he had her in his arms, he melted and he was amazing," said his wife Allison. "You couldn't have asked for a better dad. He was truly the sweetest, kindest guy and he loved his little girl."
Together four years, he and Allison would celebrate their two year wedding anniversary July 7. Allison's eyes light up when asked what made her hero so special.
"His stubbornness. He just is a unique man. He's very strong and there's just something about him I don't really know, that I fell for and he's just amazing and you know doing what he did and being a soldier is something that was really neat and it meant a lot to him and it means a lot to me," she said.
It's easy to see his sister Emily resembles her older brother, especially when she smiles.
"He was probably the best brother I could have ever asked for," Emily said. "Of course he would pick on me. I'm going to miss that more than anything is him picking on me and calling me little nicknames like 'Goober' and 'Blondie' and stuff like that, and he was definitely a unique person and he loved everybody - his family, his friends, and he loved God, very much and he was one of those who always believed everything happened for a reason."
His two best friends since 2nd grade and family said his loyality made him such a great platoon leader.
"He's absolutely loyal, just sincere and compassionate," said Brian McIntosh.
"If you met Jeff, if you knew him, it was something you'd never, never forget and a lot of times I feel like he'll come in with that big smile on his face," said Mark Sturges.
Sturges served in the military and said he sometimes wishes he could have been a part of his friend's unit.
Sturges said Hall was a main driving force when he was on the fence about whether to go or not. He appreciates his friend's encouragement, but also his friendship.
Sturges told WAFF 48 News, "If you needed time, if you needed a minute to talk to him, he would give you that time and it would just be you and him when you were talking to him, and I'm really going to miss him."
Through deployments and his third tour in Afghanistan, loved ones have grown accustomed to saying goodbye. McIntosh said while they had somewhat grown accostumed to saying goodbye through deployments and three tours to Afghanistan, it was never easy.
"It seems like it was just the other day in August 2000," he said. "We graduated high school. We had a few months together over the summer, we were standing in his driveway at 3 a.m., waiting for him to head off to boot camp."
"He's a soldier, it's what he does," Allison said. "This time actually he was almost about to try to get out of it. He was going to see because he had Audrey, but he couldn't leave his men. He had his guys he had to take over there, protect, and bring them back. There was a part of him he didn't want to leave us, but he also had his men that he has been with and been taken care of; that was his duty."
Allison said she knows he's still making a differnce.
"I know his life was cut short, but Jeffrey lived his life to the fullest," he said. "He loved God, he had faith. Audrey's middle name is Faith."
"I think if he was here, he would want to say to his fellow soldier, 'Carry on brother,' and he would say the same thing to other families of the fallen, 'Don't worry about me, carry on,'" said his father Charlie.
Hall left for his third tour in mid-January, was set to return home on leave towards the end of July, and finally come home December or January.
His body is expected to arrive in Huntsville in the next few days and he will be welcomed home in an honors ceremony.