Diana Cotter heard from her fiance Jonathan Shively Jr. in a text message Sunday before his military helicopter crashed, killing him and seriously injuring another pilot.
Shively, who grew up in Berkeley County, wrote to Cotter that he was flying an AH-64 Apache helicopter near their Columbia house.
The message was at 2:19 p.m. "That was the last thing I heard from him," Cotter said.
That morning, Shively and Cotter had set Oct. 2 as their wedding date. They had been engaged two weeks. They hugged and kissed, and he walked out the door on a training mission.
"I told him I loved him," she said.
Shively, 33, was a first lieutenant in the Army National Guard. He worked as a programmer for Computer Science Corp. of Blythewood. Flying was his passion and he tried hard to make it a full-time career, Cotter said.
"He loved flying more than anything," she said.
He was a native of San Diego, whose family moved to Jamestown when he was 11 years old. He graduated from Charleston Southern University. He was a big Clemson fan and loved to follow San Diego Chargers football. He was also a big "Star Wars" fan, Cotter said.
His sister, Renee Taylor, 38, said Shively was the baby of a family of four siblings, including a brother now serving in the Army National Guard in Afghanistan.
"He was always the smartest of my mom's children, but he was a late bloomer," Taylor said.
Adjutant General Stanhope Spears said in a news release Monday that Shively was killed in the helicopter crash during a training exercise at McEntire Joint Air National Guard Base east of Columbia. Spears said Chief Warrant Officer Roger Carpenter was taken to a local hospital after the Sunday afternoon crash and is in stable condition. Officials have not released details about the crash. Spears said the incident is under investigation.
Cotter, 23, of Enterprise, Ala., met Shively when he was in flight school at Fort Rucker, Ala. She is a social worker.
Shively was a dependable, free spirit who enjoyed friends and family. "He was the most carefree person in the world. He was just so trustworthy," she said.
Jamestown Mayor Roy Pipkin said Shively was a Macedonia High School graduate. "He was a good young man. He would help around town, help with the festival," Pipkin said.
Shively was "very competitive," Pipkin said, adding, "Anything he did, he wanted to be the best at."