HILL AIR FORCE BASE -- Ryan Balmer balanced his dedication to his military career with his devotion to his family in a way that inspired others.
    "My job was to teach him how the game worked," Nate Kerbs said of his professional mentoring of Balmer, an agent with the Air Force Office of Special Investigations. "He became the teacher . . . he taught me how to be a father, how to be a husband."
    Balmer was killed in an improvised bomb attack in Kirkuk, Iraq, on Tuesday, leaving behind a wife, three children and a devotion to his family that friends and coworkers said would continue to inspire others.
    In a memorial service held at Hill Air Force Base, coworkers recalled how Balmer spoke fondly and frequently of his family: He would sometimes bring his children to work when days ran long and always called home to apologize to his wife when investigations ran late.
    "I absolutely admire him for his dedication to his family," Kerbs said.
    The commanding officer of the Special Investigations detachment for which Balmer worked at Hill Air Force Base remembered that Balmer's only concern, as he left for a six-month tour of duty in Iraq, was for his family.
    And as such, said the general in charge of all Air Force Special Investigations agents, the Balmer family will not be forgotten.
    "When Ryan joined the OSI family, you became part of our family, too," Brig. Gen. Dana Simmons told Danielle Balmer and her children. "We grow together, we celebrate together and sometimes, tragically, we mourn and grieve together."
    Balmer will be buried this weekend in his native Indiana.