At only 20, he exuded confidence, maturity and optimism rare for someone so young.

It was those very qualities that helped Jonn Edmunds, of Cheyenne, Wyo., to become an Army Ranger.

Edmunds died Oct. 19, 2001, in a helicopter accident in Pakistan. The Black Hawk chopper he was flying with Pfc. Kristofer Stonesifer was preparing to cross the border into Afghanistan on a search-and-rescue mission.

Edmunds' father, Donn Edmunds, a former Army officer and Vietnam veteran himself, said Jonn was a loving, caring young man and "an outstanding citizen, outstanding student and outstanding son."

One of Jonn's high school social studies teachers, Wayne Korhonen, said he remembers Edmunds from a psychology class as a quiet but popular top student.

"He had this incredibly dry sense of humor," he said. "He would straight-face these one-liners sometimes that would really make you laugh." Korhonen last saw him at Christmas Eve church services in 1999.

"He was, as always, very positive and very sure of himself and what he was doing," Korhonen said. "He was looking forward to becoming a Ranger."

Edmunds grew up in Cheyenne and graduated from Cheyenne East High School in 1999. He served with the 75th Ranger Regiment, based in Fort Benning, Ga.

In 1998, he participated in the American Legion Boys State, a prestigious government skills program for student leaders, and joined the Future Business Leaders of America the following year.

In his spare time, Edmunds liked to play paintball and lift weights. John Steichen, whose son Jamie was friends with Edmunds, said he was perpetually happy and loved being in the thick of things.

"He wanted to be where the action was," Steichen said. "He was ready. He didn't regret being in, I know that."