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Army Pfc. Eric D. Soufrine

Died June 14, 2011 Serving During Operation Enduring Freedom

20, of Woodbridge, Conn.; assigned to 4th Battalion, 42nd Field Artillery Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, Fort Carson, Colo.; died June 14 at FOB Farah, Afghanistan, of wounds sustained when insurgents attacked his unit using an improvised explosive device in Farah province.

Mom: Soldier 'died a hero'

The Associated Press

HARTFORD, Conn. — A soldier from Woodbridge who was two weeks away from completing a tour in Afghanistan has been killed by a roadside bomb.

Army Pfc. Eric Soufrine, 20, died June 14 after the vehicle he was riding in struck an improvised explosive device in western Afghanistan, according to the Defense Department.

“Eric died a hero, defending the country that he loved,” his mother, Donna Soufrine, said in a statement reported by the New Haven Register. She said her son “had a kind heart.”

Soufrine graduated in 2009 from Amity Regional High School, where his family said he and his brother played football. He entered boot camp last July and his father, Michael Soufrine, said he had spent about six months in Afghanistan where he served as a gunner on an artillery vehicle.

Michael Soufrine said the family was looking forward to his return in about two weeks.

As a parent, “this is the worst thing that could ever happen to you,” he said. “He was a great kid.”

Eric Soufrine was one of three siblings and his older sister, Rebecca, is in military intelligence, Michael Soufrine said.

After finishing his tour of duty, Eric Soufrine planned to go back to college and eventually hoped to get a job in forestry, according to his mother, Donna Soufrine. She said her son loved boating and the outdoors and was a member of the Hamden Fish & Game Club.

Soufrine was assigned to 4th Battalion, 42nd Field Artillery Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, out of Fort Carson, Colo.

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy ordered the state’s flags to be lowered to half-staff in Soufrine’s honor until his burial.

“The loss of Private First Class Soufrine is a tragedy and my thoughts are with his family and friends at this time,” Malloy said in a statement. “These wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have exacted a terrible toll on our military, our families and our communities.”

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