N.C. paratrooper among 9 killed

An N.C. paratrooper was one of nine soldiers who died after militants attacked a remote outpost in Afghanistan.

The Defense Department said Wednesday that Cpl. Pruitt Rainey, 22, of Haw River in Alamance County was killed Sunday.

Rainey had just 14 days left in Afghanistan, the Greensboro News & Record said.

He was among nine U.S. soldiers killed Sunday during one of the most ferocious battles in Afghanistan since the Taliban fell in 2001.

Rainey, described by friends as a gentle giant who excelled as a wrestler at Graham High School, had planned to go back to school to become a teacher.

“He had a lot of strength but was a great guy,” said Jeff Terrell of Burlington. “Big, but gentle.”

Terrell said his friend had a magnetic quality.

“He was a very dynamic person,” Terrell said. “Everybody loved him. Young kids were just drawn to him. All of his friends were just drawn to him. He had a great personality.”

Terrell said Rainey was a good soldier who knew the troops were in Afghanistan for a purpose, but was looking forward to coming home.

“It's hard to understand why someone so vibrant and energetic would be taken,” he said.