A Boise man died Sunday in Iraq, where he was serving as a captain with the U.S. Army.
Capt. Eric L. Allton, 34 , died when he was struck by a mortar round fired by a muzzle-loading cannon in Ar Ramadi, Iraq, according to the U.S. Department of Defense. Ar Ramadi is about 50 miles west of Baghdad.
Allton had a home in Boise with his wife, Christine, and two sons, according to Lt. Col. Tim Marsano , Idaho National Guard spokesman.
The soldier is originally from Houston, but his wife is a longtime Boise resident, according to Marsano. Representatives from the National Guard notified Christine Allton of her husband's death on Sunday, Marsano said.
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Allton was assigned to the Army's 2nd Battalion, 17th Field Artillery Regiment, 2nd Infantry Division, in Camp Hovey, Korea. The living arrangements in Korea couldn't accommodate families, so Allton's wife and two sons stayed in Boise, Marsano said. Allton was deployed to Iraq at the time of his death.
In addition to his wife and sons, Allton leaves behind his mother, father and two sisters.
"He was a career soldier; the Army was his passion, " said his father, Harry Allton of Houston. "He was a generous, open soul. He just wanted to serve. He was a fine Christian man."
Christine Allton declined requests for interviews, but she issued the following statement: "Eric was a dedicated husband, father and soldier. He took care of his family and his country. Eric will be deeply missed by his family and all who knew him."
Allton entered the military in January 1994, Defense Department officials said Tuesday. He served five years in Germany, several months in Sarajevo and then was stationed in Korea before being reassigned to a combat team in Iraq, his father said.
"We have lost another Idaho soldier who was defending freedom, " Gov. Dirk Kempthorne said . "Once again we have an outstanding American, a fellow Idahoan, who has paid the ultimate price."
Allton was the 10th Idahoan to die during America's military response after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.
Funeral services for Allton are still being arranged.
The Associated Press contributed to this story.