A former Utahn and five other soldiers from Fort Lewis, Wash., were killed by a roadside bomb blast in Iraq, the Army confirmed Monday.
    Names of the Stryker Brigade soldiers were not immediately released by the Department of Defense but family members in Hooper, Utah, identified one as Pfc. Michael Pursel, 19.
    Pursel volunteered to go to Iraq when the Army asked for replacements for a Fort Lewis infantry battalion that had taken numerous casualties, said his mother, Terry Dutcher.
    ''Michael was one of the first ones to raise his hand to go,'' she told The Olympian newspaper of Olympia, Wash.
    Pursel had been in Iraq a little more than a month, but Dutcher, a captain in the Air Force Reserve who lives in Hooper, said her son died living his dream.
    ''We're proud of Michael, and Michael was doing what he always wanted to do,'' she said. ''In light of how it turned out, I know Michael was happy. I just take peace in that right now.''
    Pursel moved to Lacey, Wash., in 1998, when his father was reassigned from Germany to Fort Lewis. He attended Christian Life Church and its academy, Christian Life School, the newspaper said.
    His family moved to Utah in 2000, where Pursel attended school, a family spokesman confirmed Monday. Pursel's parents have since divorced.
    Family members contacted by The Salt Lake Tribune on Monday declined to comment on Pursel.
    The Defense Department did say that Pursel, the other five Task Force Lightning soldiers and a civilian journalist died after an improvised explosive device attack on their vehicle in Iraq's Diyala Province on Sunday. Two soldiers also were wounded and were taken to a coalition medical facility for treatment.
    Fort Lewis spokeswoman Catherine Caruso confirmed the dead were members of the 3rd Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division, a Stryker Brigade combat team based at the post south of Tacoma, Wash.
    It was the most casualties suffered by a Fort Lewis unit in one attack since six soldiers with the 1st Stryker Brigade, 25th Infantry Division, were killed in a suicide bombing on Dec. 21, 2004, at a dining tent in Mosul.
    There have been 105 service members from Fort Lewis killed in Iraq since the war began in March 2003.
    Caruso said post officials would not release details on the soldiers until the Defense Department released their names.
    The 3rd Brigade, on its second tour in Iraq, has lost 45 soldiers during missions in the country.
    The brigade is expected to return home in October after having its 12-month deployment extended by three months under an order by Defense Secretary Robert Gates, who last month called for tours of duty of all active-duty Army units in Iraq to be lengthened to 15 months.