Lance Corporal William Taylor Wild IV, 21, was one of seven marines killed in a mortar blast during a training session in Nevada.
Wild had already been deployed to Afghanistan twice and to Kuwait once.
His mother said her son always wanted to go into the military like his father, Dover Air Force Base Chief Master Sergeant William Wild III.
The elder Wild spoke with Action News Wednesday night, the same night the bodies of the seven marines arrived at Dover Air Force Base in Delaware.
He said his son always wanted to serve his country.
"He came to us in his senior year and said, 'Hey I'm going to join the Marine Corps. I'm going to go in the infantry, and I'm going to go fight, and that's what I want to do. College can wait. It'll be there for me when and if I get out. But this is what I want to go do.' And he did it."
The family said Lance Corporal Wild was making plans to go home for Easter when he was called up.
The members of the 2nd Marine Expeditionary Force died when a mortar shell exploded in its firing tube during an exercise. Eight others were injured.
The seven who died ranged in age from 19 to 26. Some had served overseas, and others were training for their first deployment. They were in the final night of a training exercise that was spread out over several days in California and Nevada when the accident occurred.