LEADVILLE, Colo. (AP) " Funeral arrangements were being planned for a U.S. Marine from Colorado who was killed in Iraq.
Nick Palmer, 19, of Leadville, died after being hit by sniper fire while on patrol in a Humvee in Fallujah, his family said. Palmer's parents were notified of his death Saturday afternoon after they had returned home from a Christmas party. It was unclear when Palmer died.
Family members said more than 150 of Palmer's friends from Lake County High School, where he attended and played football, visited them Sunday to pay their respects.
Brad Palmer said his son had been in Iraq for five or six months and was "counting down the days" until his return home on Feb. 16. He said he had talked to his son by phone three weeks ago. He said his son was working the machine gun on the Humvee at the time and didn't like the assignment.
"He felt like a target," Palmer said. "He was proved right."
Family members said Nick Palmer was drawn to the war in Iraq and wanted to join the Marines since he was a junior in high school. He trained hard for boot camp and took up running. Palmer's father said he would run up to 10-12 miles while carrying a 40-pound backpack every day.
They also said Palmer often talked about the Marine code of honor, courage and commitment.
"He believed in that code, and he lived by that code every day," said Palmer's mother, Rachele Palmer.
Brad and Rachele Palmer, who live in Colorado, planned to meet with military officials Monday to discuss funeral arrangements. Brad Palmer said his son's resting place is favored to be in Montana, where the soldier was born.
Nick Palmer's brother also is serving in the military. He is in the U.S. Navy and is stationed in Washington.