NORTH MIAMI BEACH, Fla. – Friends on Tuesday remembered a North Miami Beach paratrooper who found dead this weekend in his Fort Bragg barracks.
Army Spc. Carlton Butler started serving his country at North Miami Beach Senior High School when he joined the Junior Reserve Officers' Training Corps (JROTC) program.
"Around high school that's when he started becoming more passionate about it,” Shanice Gaynor said.
She described Butler as someone who knew what he wanted, trained hard for it and never forgot where he came from.
"He was so friendly … and (he was) always making people laugh. He was very, very hard working,” she said. “That was one thing that we knew and loved most about him because he would practice so hard even by himself."
The Army is investigating Butler's death, which is the second at the North Carolina military base in less than a week.
The military wouldn't comment on the circumstances of either death, and the Butler family is asking for privacy.
Butler, 22, joined the Army after high school in 2014 and was assigned to the 82nd Airborne Division months later.
By all accounts, Butler was energetic, determined and always looking for a challenge.
Those were character traits that served him well at Fort Bragg where he served in the 82nd Airborne Division.
His former classmates said they were at a loss over his death.
"You knew that he loved what he did and you knew that his future was going to be bright and that he was going to accomplish his goals because he never gave up," Gaynor said.