Sgt. Courtney T. Johnson, 26, died in Besmaya, Iraq, when his unit came under fire, officials said. He leaves behind a fiancee and a 1-year-old son.
Johnson's mother said she received a personal call from her son's commander. He called Johnson an exceptional soldier, she said.
As the ambulance drove away with Johnson's body, dozens of soldiers gave him a final salute, the commander said.
Johnson had also served in the Marine Corps before joining the U.S. Army.
A memorial was held Saturday in his honor.
Johnson was assigned to the 3rd Brigade Special Troops Battalion, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division in Fort Benning, Ga.
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