ROLLA, Mo. -- The stepfather of a soldier from Rolla says Spc. Bradley Melton was killed in Afghanistan on Monday by an improvised explosive device. Steve Beem says Melton was on his third tour of duty in Afghanistan. He'd been there only a few weeks but was in the Army for 10 years.
The IED went off while Bradley, 29, was on a route clearance mission. He, like his stepfather, who just retired from the Army a couple years ago, was a combat engineer.
Bradley was stationed in Fairbanks, Alaska, for about the last three years, but most of his loved ones are here in Missouri. His mom and stepfather live just outside Rolla. They got the knock on the door from a notification team early Monday evening.
On Tuesday, family and friends, including Bradley's two sons, Tristen and Preston, his fiancée, and two sisters were dealing with the shock, and remembering the man whom they're already missing so much.
"He was very family oriented, you couldn't separate him from his mother. He loved his mother very, very much, and was just a good person to be around. On a bad day, he'd make you smile. On a happy day, he'd make you even happier," said Beem, whom Melton called "Dad."
Melton's mother could not bring herself to speak to a reporter on Tuesday. Beem said the entire family needs a lot of support right now, but they're also thinking of Melton's comrades and hoping they make it through the rest of their tour safely.