Best friend of fallen Arizona soldier speaks out - WNEM TV 5

Best friend of fallen Arizona soldier speaks out

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Kyle Visconti with best friend Jonam Russell Kyle Visconti with best friend Jonam Russell

Friends and family are mourning the death of an Arizona soldier who was killed in the line of duty in Afghanistan.

Kyle Visconti says it's been tough since he found out his best friend, Army 1st Lt. Jonam Russell, was killed Tuesday.

Visconti says he became friends with Russell quickly while studying at Arizona State University. They were both in the Sun Devils Army ROTC program.

"He was fiercely loyal to his friends. Once you became in his circle of friends he would fight to the death for you," he said.

Visconti, who is also an Army lieutenant, said Russell was French-Canadian and had a big family.

"He had three little sisters and two little brothers," he said.

They moved to Arizona and Russell renounced his Canadian citizenship to join the U.S. Army, but Visconti said he spoke French frequently to impress others.

"French was his first language. He would kill the ladies with it. Anytime his grandma called he was always speaking French with her."

The Defense Department says Russell was killed when his unit was attacked by enemy forces with an improvised explosive device.

Visconti says he feels cheated that Russell is gone too soon.

"He should have been a groomsman at my wedding. We talked about going into business together, and future trips. None of that's ever going to happen."

There will be a memorial service held for Russell Friday at ASU's Tempe Campus in front of the Old Main building at 10 a.m.

Copyright 2013 CBS 5(KPHO Broadcasting). All rights reserved.

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