Word of the death of Pvt. Eric D. Soufrine, 20, spread quickly through his hometown Wednesday night, according to First Selectman Edward Maum Sheehy. He said Soufrine was a 2009 graduate of Amity High School and enlisted in the Army after graduation.
The Defense Department said Soufrine joined the Army on May 11, 2010, and was deployed to Afghanistan on Dec. 10.
Soufrine, who was stationed in Farah province in Afghanistan, was killed while on mounted patrol. His vehicle hit a roadside bomb at a river crossing in the Shewan Garrison Village. Sheehy said that Soufrine, while overseas, was recently honored in the town's Memorial Day ceremony.
He was a member of Battery B, 4th Battalion, 42d Field Artillery, out of Fort Carson, Colo.
Soufrine was also a recipient of National Defense Service Medal and the NATO Service Medal.
Soufrine's grandparents described him Thursday as "patriotic," and "an all around good kid."
"We loved him dearly, we're going to miss him," said his grandmother, Bety Soufrine.
His parents are in Dover, Del., where his body is scheduled to arrive.
Soufrine was due home in two weeks, said his grandfather, Sandy Soufrine. He played football in high school and was an avid hunter, fisherman and boater, Sandy Soufrine said.
His older sister Rebecca Soufrine, 25, is also a soldier. She works in intelligence at a base in Arizona.
"The loss of Private First Class Soufrine is a tragedy and my thoughts are with his family and friends at this time," Gov. Dannel P. Malloy said in a statement Wednesday night.
"These wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have exacted a terrible toll on our military, our families and our communities. Our prayers are with our men and women serving overseas and their families who are making an extraordinary sacrifice in service to the country."
Flags will fly at half-staff until Soufrine's burial.