Mesa soldier killed hours after receiving special shipment from parents

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By Brad Denny By Brad Denny
By Brad Denny By Brad Denny
By Brad Denny By Brad Denny
By Brad Denny By Brad Denny
By Brad Denny By Brad Denny

MESA, Ariz. --  The parents of a Mesa-born soldier killed in Afghanistan say he was excited to deploy, and felt like he was making a difference with his military service.

Army Specialist Wyatt Martin, 22, was killed in a roadside explosion on Friday. Another member of his unit was also killed in the blast.

"When he got deployed, I was happy for him. He really wanted to go serve and do his job," Julie Martin, Wyatt's mother, told 3TV.

"He said since we didn't have other family members serve, aside from grandfathers, he felt like we should give back," his father Brian said.

They say Wyatt planned on enrolling at Michigan State, then working for Arizona Game and Fish after his time in the Army was finished.

"As far back as when he was three years old, he'd fish for hours on the dock," Brian recalled.

In the Army, Wyatt worked as a combat engineer, searching for improvised explosive devices.  

His parents felt he was deploying in a relatively safer time.

"We all thought it was because there was the drawdown," his father said.

Julie made and shipped her son's platoon elf hats, which arrived Friday in Afghanistan.

"He sends me this note, 'Mom we got the hats. The guys love them. We've been wearing them everywhere,'" she said. "It was his last message to me. A few hours later he was killed."

Specialist Martin's body arrived in Dover Monday, and will be sent to Arizona next week.

"He wanted to bring peace or stability to people who don't have it. He said he wanted to give what he had to somebody who doesn't have any hope for it," Julie said of her son.