NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Captain Travis W. Brannon started reaching for the stars long before before he even reached fourth grade.
"I think he wanted to do something that was, in his mind, productive on a larger scale than just working," said his father Charles Brannon.
It was his family's military history, and Travis' own adventurous streak that convinced the Montgomery Bell Academy graduate to join the Marines.
"All I can say is that he was somebody that kids and adults wanted to be friends with, and he never turned a friendship down," Charles said.
Captain Brannon got his wings in 2015, and married his wife Virginia just the next year.
Six months ago, they had a daughter: Emilia Lee.
"He's proud of all his marine brothers, but when it came down to family and friends, that came first," Charles said.
Travis Brannon was killed during helicopter training in Arizona this past weekend.
His family is left with so many memories... but still -- a crushing loss.
"My wife and I have our moments, but lots of friends and family have been visiting," Charles said. "It's the empty house that's so hard."
And they say they have this message to pass along, as they continue to grieve for their boy, who his parents say finally reached those stars:
"Appreciate all of our servicewomen and men," Charles said. "The sacrifices they do every day are not appreciated unless they have a loved one experiencing it, they're the best."