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Soldier's brother: 'He lived life large'

Michael Petithory's brother  Sgt. 1st Class Daniel Petithory was killed by
Michael Petithory's brother Sgt. 1st Class Daniel Petithory was killed by "friendly fire."  

(CNN) -- Family members and friends are mourning the deaths of three U.S. Special Forces soldiers, killed Wednesday when an errant U.S. bomb exploded near Kandahar, Afghanistan.

One of the soldiers was Sgt. 1st Class Daniel Henry Petithory. His brother, Michael, spoke with CNN's Paula Zahn Thursday.

ZAHN: Tell us a little bit about your brother. I know you talked to The Associated Press, and as a child, you always said, you wanted to play baseball and he always wanted to play war.

Bomb kills 3 U.S. soldiers, 5 Afghan fighters 

PETITHORY: That's accurate. It's also fair to say.. it's tough to say just a little bit about Danny. A lot to say about him. He lived life large. I've said this a couple of times, it seems to keep popping into my mind, so forgive me...that his stature certainly mirrored his personality. My brother was 6-foot-4, weighed about 220 pounds. My sister's 6-foot-2. I'm only 6 feet, so I'm the midget.

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He lived life to the fullest, and my dad, my mother and myself, my whole family, the one thing we want to get across to everybody is we're very proud of him. We're also very proud of everyone that's over there right now trying to get this job done.

He was very popular, very outgoing. Everybody loved him.. everybody that knew him, loved him. They didn't like him, they loved him. I think that's the best way to put it.

ZAHN: Certainly, your family's pride in what he did has been abundantly clear over the last 24 hours. Tell us a little bit more about where his sense of patriotism came from, why he was so committed to defending this country.

PETITHORY: I think General George Patton put it the best: "All real Americans love the sting of battle." He was born with it. I don't know where he got it from... innate, I guess.

ZAHN: Can you share with us how he reacted to the tragedy of September 11 and how that might even have reinforced his drive to defend this country?

PETITHORY: Well, I unfortunately didn't have any communication with him at all, save for a few scant e-mails. I wrote him a letter, he didn't correspond to that but I'm not sure if he got the letter. That was about two or three weeks ago. He did respond back in an e-mail.. very, very short, very brief and to the point. I can understand how he probably didn't have much time to respond to me.

ZAHN: Did your family know much about Daniel's mission in Afghanistan.. what he was doing, where he was stationed?

PETITHORY: Absolutely not. It was top secret. Our feeling on that was, he had a job to do. I don't know much about it. I'm not a soldier, I was never a military person, but my understanding is, in times of war you have a mission to do, you do it, no questions asked. You carry out your task the best you can.

So we certainly didn't know at all where he was. My dad has been very good over the news reports, he listens all the time, as do I. We could speculate from the news reports as to his ability, his unit, where he would be roughly. Of course, we never had any confirmation. That's really not our business. Our business was to worry about him and make sure he made it home safely.

ZAHN: What has the government told the family about what went wrong?

PETITHORY: Well, I don't think anybody knows right now. I've been assured by the government that we will know, we will find out. That, right now, is not our concern, really. I've been talking to my dad this morning about this... we're concerned about it, let me take that back... but we're just overwhelmed right now with our loss, that's the big thing.

We're going to miss him. He's the only brother I have, and, sorry to get personal here, but I hope we get this done and I hope we bring those responsible for all the horror that this country has had to endure over the past couple of months, we bring them to justice and they get dealt a swift and severe punishment. That's my feeling.

ZAHN: Well, as you know, all of America is on your side. We salute the commitment your brother made to this country, and our thoughts are with you as you deal with your horrendous sense of grief.

PETITHORY: Thank you very much.


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