The Defense Department said Friday that 39-year-old Staff Sgt. Eric Holman of Evans City was killed by an improvised explosive device on Wednesday in Ghanzi province.
His father, David, of Forward Township, Butler County, told KDKA-TV that his son was a bomb disposal specialist who loved his job.
"He loved his country," David Holman said. "He was very patriotic and he just felt that he needed to do what he needed to do, and he wanted to have an impact."
His stepmother, Jan Holman, told the Pittsburg Post-Gazette that Eric joined the Army after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. He served with the 82nd Airborne Division and became a member of the Army's Golden Knights parachute team, which became "like a family" for him, she said.
"He had planned to make the Army a career," Jan Holman said. "He liked everything about it."
David Holman says his son recently purchased an airplane and was planning to take flying lessons when he got home next month. He said he and his son, who leaves behind a 7-year-old son of his own, talked every week.
"He was an incredible guy. He achieved so many things in his life," David Holman said. "He was a good son; he was a good father."