A soldier from Tucson was killed Wednesday while serving in Afghanistan, the Pentagon said Friday.
Staff Sgt. Orion N. Sparks, 29, and another soldier were killed in Pul-E Alam, in eastern Afghanistan, when an insurgent detonated a suicide vest near their patrol, the Department of Defense said.
Sparks was assigned to the 1st Squadron, 91st Cavalry Regiment, 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team at Schweinfurt, Germany.
The other soldier killed was identified as Sgt. Jonathan A. Gollnitz, 28, of Fredonia, N.Y.
The two soldiers were members of Anvil Troop, according to a statement posted on Facebook by the 1st Squadron, 91st Cavalry Regiment.
"SSG Sparks touched the lives of many soldiers during his time in Anvil. He is remembered as a contagious optimist who was always in good spirits. Someone that could relate to soldiers on a personal level and helped guide them through life," said the statement by Lt. Col. Whit Wright, commander of the 173rd Airborne.
"Orion was an outstanding trainer of soldiers and a leader who was not afraid to get his hands dirty and lead from the front. A true NCO to the end. He was a cornerstone in Anvil Troop."
Additional information about Sparks was not available Friday.
Online records had very little information about Sparks, other than showing the time he lived here.
Family members appear to live mainly in Washington state. They could not be reached for comment on Friday.
Wire service reports on the attack said the bomber targeted a vehicle that was among a NATO convoy.
In addition to the two deaths, several other soldiers were wounded. Pul-E Alam is in Logar province in eastern Afghanistan.