Maj. Robert Marchanti spent half of his life rising through the ranks in the U.S. Army National Guard. He deployed twice, once to Kosovo in 2008 and then to Afghanistan last summer.
This time, he's not coming home.
"You hear everyday about how people die fighting for their country, but it doesn't really hit home until someone you are related to or love," said Aaron Marchanti, the fallen soldier's son.
His role of husband and father seemed to make him most proud. He was married almost 25 years to his wife, Peggy.
Together they had four children. Leah was his only daughter.
"He kept calling me his little girl, and I kept getting so angry about it as I got older. I was like I'm not a little girl anymore. But now I wish he could come back so I could tell him that I'm still his little girl," said Leah Marchanti.
For 20 years, he was a phys ed teacher at Victory Villa Elementary, Dundalk Elementary, and Carver High School.
Before he got his teaching degree, his children said he worked at a shoe store and cleaned gymnasiums to get by. There's one life lesson his oldest son will not forget.
"It's not the type of situations you're in that define you as a man, but it's how you deal with that situation that defines you as a man," said Aaron Marchanti.
The military has not confirmed the details of Maj. Marchanti's death. But they are not important to his children, who have their sights set on filling their father's big shoes.
"That's all he said all the time was take care of mom, take care of mom no matter what. It was like he lived to take care of my mom," said Leah Marchanti.
The family says Maj. Marchanti's body will arrive at Dover Air Force Base tomorrow.
A viewing is being planned in Baltimore, and he will be buried at Arlington National Cemetery.