Guilford County soldier killed in Iraq

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GUILFORD COUNTY, N.C. – A popular Northeast Guilford High School graduate has been killed while serving his country in Iraq.

Army Spc. David Hickman, 23, died sometime Monday, family members said. Defense officials have not yet released how Hickman was killed.

Hickman’s mom said two soldiers went to her door and delivered the news around 11:30 p.m. Monday. She said she last spoke with her son on Sunday and Skyped with him on Oct. 30, her birthday.

Hickman was with the White Falcons Second Platoon. He left on his first tour of duty around Memorial Day, and friends said he was planning on giving his mother a surprise homecoming on Dec. 1.

Hickman graduated from Northeast in 2006. He was an all-conference outside linebacker for the Rams and a second-degree black belt in taekwondo. He joined the Army after a brief stint at Averett College.

Hickman’s mom called his best friend, Logan Tranium, a few minutes after getting the news. Tranium called Hickman a true American hero.

“He believed in everything he was doing. It was just going to work for him, and now he’s gone. It’s tough. It’s going to be tough for a while,” Tranium said.

Kevin Wood, who grew up just a block away from Hickman, said he at first thought it was a terrible joke when he heard the news.

“I ran into his dad as I was walking my dog, and I told him, ‘Call me. Let me know so I can come see him.’ I had just planned on seeing him again, and I won’t get to,” Wood said.

A candlelight vigil will take place Sunday at Northeast Guilford High School. Hickman’s mom said she wants to meet all his friends and are asking people to go to her home to share their memories.

Many people already have shared their condolences on Hickman’s Facebook wall.