YOKOTA AIR BASE, Japan — Air Force Staff Sgt. Travis Griffin was only 15 days from returning home on leave at the midway point of his Iraq tour when he was killed by a roadside bomb while on patrol in Baghdad.

He was on his fourth Iraq deployment — his seventh to the Middle East. He had volunteered for the yearlong assignment, conducting patrols and training police forces in heart of the Iraqi capital.

Griffin, 28, had served in the Air Force nine years and deployed to Iraq in October 2007 as a member of Detachment 3 of the 732nd Expeditionary Security Forces Squadron.

In an April news story by The Associated Press, Col. Robert E. Suminsby Jr., 377th Air Base Wing commander at Griffin’s home station of Kirtland Air Force Base, N.M., said Griffin’s mission in Iraq was longer and more dangerous than most for deployed airmen.

"Most deploy for four to six months. He actually volunteered to go on a 365-day tour," Suminsby told AP. "He was one of the folks that really stepped up to do not just a very dangerous and demanding mission, but one that was going to last a lot longer."

Griffin was known for calmness under fire and for leading his men in prayer before missions. His detachment was featured in a November story in Stars and Stripes that focused on the increased risks airmen are facing as they take on more Army roles.

"I want to leave knowing that we’ve done something," he said.

According to AP, Griffin was born on Okinawa and is survived by his wife, Krista, and son, Elijah, 5, who live in Kentucky.

Stars and Stripes reporter Scott Schonauer contributed to this story.

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