HOULTON — The death of a Marine in Afghanistan is hitting both a family and a school.

The Pentagon says 25-year-old 1st Lt. James R. Zimmerman, whose parents live in Smyrna Mills, died Nov. 2 while conducting combat operations in Helmand province.

News spread quickly at Greater Houlton Christian Academy, where Zimmerman graduated in 2003. The Bangor Daily News says Zimmerman’s father, Tom Zimmerman, is the assistant head of the school, his mother, Jane, works with music students, and his sister and brother-in-law both teach there.

Wayne Watson, a family friend, said James Zimmerman always wanted to be a Marine. He was assigned to 2nd Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division, II Marine Expeditionary Force, Camp Lejeune, N.C.