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Vandy Grad Student Killed 'Had it Together'

Posted at 10:20 PM, Mar 09, 2016

One day after a Vanderbilt University Graduate student was killed in a stabbing attack in Israel, one of his close friends is opening up about their adventures together.

PHOTOS: Vanderbilt MBA Student Killed In Atack In Israel

Barrett Caldwell met Taylor Force more than five years ago. The two had a common thread: they both served in the military. Caldwell was in the U.S. Coast Guard and Force was in the U.S. Army.

Force served two tours in Iraq and Afghanistan. He was a first year student in the Owen Graduate School of Management when he was killed in Israel Tuesday.

"What was taken from us last night was a guy who was doing everything right," Caldwell said. "He wasn't a question mark."

Caldwell remembers the quiet, inclusive personality that drew people to the West Point graduate. 

"I've got vivid memories of sitting at a Midtown [Nashville] bar where there's a guy in the corner who's with no one, and Taylor walks over with a beer and hands it to him and invites him into a circle."

The two friends traveled the world together, from Ireland to Germany. Caldwell is the first to admit, Force wasn't always on board with his good friend's laid-back style of traveling. That came to a head when the two were in Ireland and found a stranger's floor to sleep on.

"Taylor, last thing before the lights went out, was [saying], "Alright man you're going to keep me safe here it's way out of my realm of comfort to just fall asleep on some stranger's floor,'" Caldwell remembered.

That sense of adventure motivated Force to apply to Vanderbilt University and eventually to join the 28 other students who were traveling to Israel this week for a Spring Break business trip. 

29 people who became a family, bound together forever by tragedy.

"It's really the sense of having someone torn of your family, and that's tragic and devastating," said Eric Johnson, Dean of the Owen Graduate School of Management, in a press conference Wednesday.

Friends of Force have put together a GoFundMe account to help his family with funeral expenses. If you'd like to donate, click here