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Soldier from Placerville Killed in Tragic Accident in South Korea

PLACERVILLE -- A local solider left behind two young sons and family and friends when he died in a tragic accident in South Korea.

Sgt. Eric Schenck was killed last week while stationed in South Korea with the 35th Air Defense Artillery Brigade.

Schenck was on his way back to the Suwon Air Base from a field training exercise when a car rear ended the U.S. Humvee ambulance he was riding in, the mother of his second child, Stephanie Gifford, told FOX40. She says when Schenck got out of the car, an 8 ton cargo truck hit one of the cars on scene and that car rammed into Schenck, pushing him into a ditch.

The death of the 33-year-old devastates those closest to him.

Loved ones flooded social media with condolences, saying they're at a loss for words, that Schenck will be truly missed, and that he's a great young man who had a bright future ahead of him.

The kind words don't stop there. Schenck's battalion commander tells FOX40 he was an exemplary soldier and leader and that Schenck truly made an impact on others. The outpouring of support shows how much he'll be missed.

Gifford spoke to us over the phone from an airport in New York. She's catching a flight to South Korea.

"He was my very best friend. We had something special. We created a life together. I talked to him every day. He was very close to me, and his family is all really close to me, they're like my second family," she said.

Schenck had been in South Korea since January 2017 and was scheduled to come home next month.

Schenck's unit is planning a memorial ceremony for him in South Korea on Friday.  The 35th Air Defense Artillery Brigade says it's a chance for fellow soldiers to come together and grieve.

Family plans to hold another memorial service next month in the United States.