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Family, friends remember Sgt. Dickhut for his intelligence, determination

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Once, on a kayaking trip with his buddies, Sgt. Nicholas Dickhut saw a tree probably 14-inches thick and decided he would cut it down with the small hatchet he had packed along.

His friends, Sgt. Martin LePage and Sgt. Tyler Jenkins, laughed and went to set up camp. When he came back, defeated, they gave him good-natured grief for quitting. So Dickhut went back into the woods and tried again.

"Two hours later, the tree came crashing down," LePage said in remarks sent from downrange.

Dickhut, 23, was killed April 30 in the village of Siah Choy in Zharay, Afghanistan, when his unit was attacked with small arms fire. He was assigned to the 5th Battalion, 20th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Stryker Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division at Joint Base Lewis-McChord.

On May 16, his comrades and friends remembered him in a ceremony at Lewis North Chapel for his leadership, his intelligence and his sheer determination.

Dickhut grew up in Minnesota, and both his parents had been in the service before him.

After joining the Army in 2008, he attended basic training at Fort Leonard Wood, Mo., and advanced individual training at Fort Sill, Okla., where he met Jenkins. Following that he was assigned to 5-20 Inf. as a fire support sergeant.

He deployed to Iraq in 2009 and, following a knee injury from which he worked to recover so he could deploy again, to Afghanistan last December.

While downrange he was preparing to enroll in classes to finish his degree, and researching the requirements to become a pilot. He was known for always being top of his class, and challenging even his superiors.

But for Jenkins and his wife, Dickhut was more than just a buddy.

"Nick was part of our family in Washington," he said. "We shared holidays together, evening meals and even a small apartment."

Jenkins said he came to realize that Dickhut was not just a friend - he was his brother. And he will be forever missed.

In Memoriam

Sergeant Nicholas M. Dickhut, who went by "Nick," was born on Dec. 31, 1988 in Burnesville, Minn., and grew up in Stewartville, Minn.

He graduated from Stewartville High School in 2007, where he studied at Rochester Community and Technical College for his junior and senior years. He was interested in U.S. history, and took honors English and accelerated math classes.

He was still in high school when he joined the Society for Creative Anachronism, a group devoted to researching and re-enacting medieval times. Even then he enjoyed making his own armor and diving into simulated battles. He also upheld the organization's values, including honor, loyalty and duty, which helped him in the transition from teenager to Soldier.

"We value chivalry and he was very chivalrous," friend and SCA member Rachel Gray told the Rochester Post-Bulletin.

Unsure of what he wanted to do next, Dickhut enlisted in the U.S. Army in 2008. On Oct. 28, 2011, Dickhut married Aliesha Glidden in Rochester, Minn. The two had known each other since he was 14.

Just hours before the firefight that killed him, Dickhut called home to wish his brother, David Carson, a happy ninth birthday. His funeral was May 8 at St. Frances of Assisi Catholic Church in Rochester and was attended by Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton, who ordered for flags across the state to be lowered to half-staff in Dickhut's honor.

He is survived by his wife, Aliesha Glidden, his mother, Jacqueline Carson, and stepfather, Randall Carson, brothers Christopher Dickhut and David Carson, and his sister, Natasha Carson.

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