Pfc. Mathew D. Taylor, 21, died Sept. 26 at Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio, Texas.
Taylor was born in Carmichael and moved at age 6 with his family to the small Sierra foothills community of Cameron Park.
Family and friends remember Taylor as honest and giving. With spiky blond hair, he enjoyed playing paint ball and video games and later dedicated himself to martial arts.
He enlisted in April 2006 in part to honor his father, who died in a car accident when Taylor was 16. His father had served in the Army.
Taylor's mother, Patty, was supportive: "How could I not support him when he wanted to do something as honorable as that?"
His life was celebrated Oct. 11 with a memorial service and procession with full military honors in his hometown.
Taylor was a gunner assigned to the 1st Battalion (Airborne), 503rd Infantry Regiment, 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team based in Vicenza, Italy.
He had been the only survivor of a July 23 blast that killed four other soldiers east of Kabul.
Information from: Los Angeles Times, http://www.latimes.com
(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)