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Before Air Force Staff Sgt. Travis Griffin and his squad rolled into Baghdad for missions, he always led the men in prayer inside their Humvee.

Griffin, 28, and his squad knew the risks they would face in Iraq, but they volunteered for the yearlong assignment. Their first goal was to come back safe. Their second goal was to help train Iraqi police forces.

“I want to leave knowing that we’ve done something,” Griffin said in a November interview with Stars and Stripes.

Members of the 732nd Expeditionary Security Forces Squadron will complete their deployment later this year knowing they accomplished their mission. But they will return home without the airman many called “Griff.”

Griffin was killed on Thursday when a roadside bomb hit his vehicle while on patrol in central Baghdad.

Many airmen looked up to Griffin, who was on his fourth tour in Iraq. “He was a born leader,” his wife, Krista Griffin, said in an e-mail.

Travis Griffin was a member of the 377th Security Forces Squadron at Kirtland Air Force Base in New Mexico, but he was attached to the 732nd’s Detachment 3 while on deployment to the Iraqi capital.

He is the 46th Air Force active-duty member or employee to have been killed in Iraq, according to Web site icasualties.org, which tracks fatalities in Iraq.

In November, Griffin and his detachment were highlighted in a story in Stars and Stripes that focused on the increased risks airmen are facing as they take on more Army roles.

Col. Karl Bosworth, commander of the 732nd Air Expeditionary Group in Balad, called the detachment “the most heavily engaged Air Force ground unit that we’ve got.”

Last year, shots were fired at Griffin and his squad as they worked to secure a bus parking lot in Baghdad. Griffin barely flinched and continued scanning the perimeter with the scope of his rifle.

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