One of the Mentor Seven, a tight-knit group of high school friends who enlisted to fight in Iraq, is gone.
We don't know quite what it was that instilled patriotism and duty to country in seven boys at Mentor High School.
But it came together on the Mentor hockey team where teammates became a bunch of buddies and then a band of brothers.
Sgt. Mark T. Smykowski, 23, was the oldest and first off to the Marines. It was no surprise to his coach.
"He had the heart of a lion," Mentor Hockey Coach Jack Smeltz said. "His senior year, he was voted outstanding team player."
That's leadership. Mark and his teammates Matt and Brian left for the Marines in 2000. And in the Marines one of them stood out.
"He was unbelievable," Brian Halan said. "He was one of those Marines that people say 'You should be more like him.'"
They all faced combat in Iraq and Afghanistan. Mark took the toughest assignments: Paratrooper school, sniper school.
And when they were home on leave, a group of younger brothers and friends decided to enlist to make Mentor's band of seven.
The others are home now, but mark re-upped.
Mark's friends know his life was well lived.
"I know if he had to do it all over again, regardless of the outcome, he wouldn't change a thing," Matt Neath said.
So Thursday, his buddies from Mentor High School and the hockey team remember a buddy who became a brother.
Mark died June 6 while conducting combat operations in Al Anbar province, Iraq. He was killed by a remote car bomb.
This young "Marine's Marine" will be buried at Arlington National Cemetery.
Smykowski's death brings the total number of Iraq war dead from Ohio to 112.
Only California, Texas, Pennsylvania and New York have lost more service men and women than Ohio.