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An Italy-based soldier killed this week in Afghanistan will be memorialized Friday in Vicenza, officials said Thursday.

Staff Sgt. Troy S. Ezernack, 39, of Lancaster, Pa., died in Qalat on Oct. 9, the Pentagon confirmed Thursday. Ezernack was killed when insurgents attacked his patrol with grenades, officials said. He was assigned to 2nd Battalion, 503rd Infantry Regiment, 173rd Airborne Brigade.

A memorial service is scheduled for 1 p.m. Friday at the Caserma Ederle post chapel, said Maj. Carl Fehrenbacher, the Southern European Task Force’s rear detachment public affairs officer.

Ezernack was from Shreveport, La., family members said, and was a six-year veteran of the Army. He had served a tour in Iraq before deploying to Afghanistan earlier this year.

Family members said they were told Ezernack was killed by a grenade explosion when he and other soldiers were searching a building.

“He often told me, ‘The reason I’m doing this is so that people can sleep in peace at night.’ Even though he lost his life, he was fighting for what he believed in,” his mother, Francis J. Harrison, told KTBS television station.

“He always wanted to be a soldier — always. That was his passion.”

Harrison said that in her last phone conversation with her son, he told of receiving his next military assignment: Fort Polk, La.

“He asked for an assignment in Louisiana and he got it. And he said, ‘Mom, I’ll be three hours away.’ And that’s the last I heard from him.”

Ezernack leaves behind a wife. He will be buried in Arlington National Cemetery, officials said.

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