A soldier from North Charleston -- whose family said he'd been in Afghanistan for just a few days -- was killed along with three other troops Monday when a roadside bomb exploded in the southern part of the country.
The family of Army Pvt. Cheziray Pressley, 21, remembers him as a soldier dedicated to the service and as a son who loved to cut up and make others laugh.
"He was a fun-loving young man," his father, Raymond Pressley said Wednesday, moments before he was to board a plane destined for Dover, Del., to await the return of his son's body.
He said Cheziray's decision to join the military "was something he really wanted to do -- to serve his country, complete his education and see the world. He had a sense of patriotism and duty."
Cheziray Pressley was a 2008 graduate of Fort Dorchester
High School. He married in December and has a young daughter. He is second-oldest of the family's four sons.
The Pentagon, which identified him as Cheizray, said Pressley was among four U.S. servicemen who died when insurgents attacked their unit with an improvised device in Zabul province. All four were assigned to the Brigade Troops Battalion, 1st Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division out of Ft. Wainwright, Alaska.
No other details were immediately released, but the father was told that his son and the others were riding in a vehicle, and that another soldier was badly wounded in the blast. Military leaders have predicted a seasonal upswing in attacks on U.S. forces as the Taliban tries to retake territory lost in the past year.
Pressley said his son last called home on Mother's Day. During the call he expressed his love for his mother but didn't say much about what his job was or what he was involved in. "He had, for one reason or another, to keep that under wraps, to keep that secretive," his father said.
Cheziray had come home in December to marry Dawn, his girlfriend of several years. The Pressley family has been in the Charleston area for a relatively short time, having moved from Abbeville around 2007. Church work brought the Pressleys here.
Raymond Pressley said it was an easy decision for his son to join up, since other family members already had served in various branches and spoke positively of military life.
"He had a heart to serve his country," Pressley added.
Cheziray had a number of hobbies. He loved sports, especially basketball and football, and enjoyed playing paintball.
"He always kept a smile on his face," his father said.
Funeral plans, arranged by the Fielding Home for Funerals, are incomplete.
Reach Schuyler Kropf at 937-5551.