The flag outside the Manchester Township municipal building is flying half-staff as the community mourns the loss of a local hero.
23-year-old Marine Corporal Nicholas Ott of Manchester died on Wednesday during combat operations in Afghanistan's Helmand Province.
Ott is the second serviceman from South Jersey to die in Afghanistan this week. Sgt. Alessandro Plutino of Pitman was killed on Monday by small arms fire.
"This is rough, it's not easy losing someone like this," said George Mack, Ott's friend since Middle School. "He was just one of those guys you never thought anything like this would happen to."
Ott joined the Marine Corps in 2007 and was assigned to 1st Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment, 3rd Marine Division in Hawaii. He was awarded numerous medals for his service and had been in Afghanistan since April.
Ott was expected to return to the U.S. in November. His body will arrive at the Dover Air Force Base on Saturday.
"He was so excited to leave and go to the marines, he really wanted to go and serve his country," said George.
"I'm gonna miss you buddy, gonna miss you a lot."