Minnie Carter always thought this day might come but prayed and hoped that it would not.
"I put down the phone. I couldn't believe it," said Carter.
The grim truth first came by phone from her daughter-in-law and then from two Army officials at the front door late Thursday afternoon.
"He called me just about everyday," Mrs. Carter remembered.
This is a story about a soldier's soldier.
"He loved, slept and breathed the Army," said older brother Walter Carter.
James Carter grew up in Montgomery, graduated from Carver High School and trained at Fort Rucker. The family says James and another soldier died when their reconnaissance helicopter crashed in Afghanistan this week. Still unclear is what happened.
"I don't know if it was malfunction or shot down or what," said Mrs. Carter.
During the interview with WSFA 12 News we learned that James Carter was a month away from coming home for a 30-day break, a little more than a month away from his 43rd birthday. He had an opportunity to become a flight instructor at Fort Rucker but instead chose to go back into harm's way for the fourth time.
"Two tours of Iraq, one tour of Bosnia and then Afghanistan," said Walter Carter.
The grief is simply all-too consuming in the Carter home in south Montgomery. The last phone call was Sunday night.
" He said, 'don't worry. I'm fine," said Minnie Carter through the tears.
And yet there is a great comfort, a peace about the way James Carter passed on.
"He did what he wanted to do," said Walter Carter.
Military officials have told the Carter family that it might take up to 14 days to bring James Carter's body back to Montgomery. He was married with three children. James had just built a home for his family in Tennessee.