An Air Force pilot's former high school counselor is sharing memories of him after he was killed in a fighter jet crash in Afghanistan.
Captain James Steel, 29, graduated from Cactus High School and then earned his degree at the Air Force Academy.
He was piloting an F-16 near Bagram Air Field when it crashed April 3.
Sandra Meyerson was Steel's counselor in high school. It's been more than 10 years since he graduated, but she remembers him as an excellent student with aspirations to go far in the military -- one of those students you don't forget.
"What a tragedy and how sad it is for us to have lost such a hero," she says. "He was motivated, he was hardworking, he was intelligent, he was polite, and he was a leader. You can't ask for more than that in your students."
Steel was stationed at Shaw Air Force Base in South Carolina, but did his pilot training at Luke Air Force Base.
"He had set a goal for himself to get to the Air Force Academy, and he did. I remember him wanting to be a doctor however, and he ended up being a pilot."
It's another painful reminder of the sacrifices our service members make.
"Freedom isn't free," Meyerson added.
The cause of the crash is under investigation.