Staff Sgt. William A. Allers III, 28, had been in Iraq for nearly a year running security for convoys and supply missions with the Kentucky National Guard's 617th Military Police Company.
He was a month away from coming home to his wife, Bethany, and his 8-year-old son, Greg, in Leitchfield, Ky., his family said.
"He accepted it in stride," Fallston resident William A. Allers Jr. said of his son's assignment to Iraq. "He didn't like the weather, the terrain, the blowing sand, but he loved the children."
Sergeant Allers was born in Baltimore. His family lived for a time in Riviera Beach before moving to Fallston in 1980. He lettered in track at Fallston High School and joined the Army before graduating in 1995.
He spent eight years on active duty as a cavalry scout, his father said.
After his discharge in 2003, Sergeant Allers settled in Kentucky, joined the National Guard and took a job at an office supply business. His first marriage ended in divorce, and he remarried last year, his father said.
In Iraq, Sergeant Allers never saw Baghdad or any of the other cities, staying on his base most of the time, his father said. As a noncommissioned officer, he was frequently called on to keep others safe.
Capt. Todd Lindner, commander of the 617th, said in a news release that Sergeant Allers' unit provided security for supply convoys, among other tasks. The team has completed more than 150 combat patrols and 50 security escorts, surviving more than 25 combat engagements.
On Tuesday, Sergeant Allers was on a mission near Al Khalis, about 40 miles north of Baghdad, when his Humvee was struck by a roadside bomb. The driver and gunner in the vehicle survived and were taken to Germany for treatment.
Sergeant Allers' father speculated, in an interview at his home last night, that the bomb must have exploded on his son's side of the vehicle.
Kentucky guardsmen mourned the loss of their comrade yesterday, the eighth to die in Iraq.
"Staff Sergeant Allers worked hard to keep high morale in his team and was a catalyst for the morale in our entire company," Captain Lindner said. He is "deeply missed by all of his fellow soldiers."
He called Sergeant Allers' service "outstanding." The soldier was posthumously awarded the Bronze Star, Purple Heart and Combat Action Badge, the news release said.
"The death of Staff Sergeant Allers is a tragedy for his family, the Army National Guard and the Commonwealth of Kentucky," said Maj. Gen. Donald C. Storm, adjutant general for Kentucky. "He was a fine soldier who made the ultimate sacrifice for his nation. His family is in our prayers, and we will continue to support them."
David N. Allers of Fallston said his brother loved cars and spent time working on his Mustang.
"He was a very hard-working man," he said of his brother. "The people who served underneath him adored him."
Sergeant Allers last visited Maryland in July but frequently called and wrote home, his father said. He called for the last time Sunday, but William Allers Jr. said he wasn't able to get to the phone in time.
He said he is proud of his son and believes the mission he was on must continue.
"There's talk about withdrawal from Iraq, but something like that would dishonor my son's memory," the father said.
email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org The Associated Press contributed to this article.