An Army specialist from Springville who planned to make a career in the military was killed Sunday in an explosion near his security patrol in Baghdad.
Spc. Brian K. Baker, 27, died "when a vehicle-borne explosive device detonated near his security patrol," the Department of Defense reported late Monday.
Baker was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 14th Infantry Regiment, 10th Mountain Division, from Fort Drum.
He was the son of Gregory G. and Holly Baker of Springville.
Brian Baker was serving his second tour of duty in Iraq, having returned there in June.
Holly Baker, his stepmother who raised him from the time he was 10 months old, said he believed strongly in what he and U.S. troops were accomplishing in Iraq.
"He absolutely loved what he did," she said. "He took great pride in what he did (with the Army). It's so hard to have it come to a tragic end like this."
Brian Baker, born and raised in Springville, graduated from Springville-Griffith Institute in 1996.
"He was a quiet boy, never in any trouble," said one school official, after talking with teachers and other staff members who knew him. "He had good grades and took care of business. He was a nice young man."
A few months after graduation, Baker enlisted in the Army through the West Seneca recruiting office. Earlier reports that Baker had graduated from a West Seneca high school were incorrect.
Baker was married to Amy Roach Baker from Midland, Texas. Her husband told her he was filled with a warm feeling when he found out they were expecting identical twin girls, she told the Midland Reporter-Telegram.
"I hope they look like him because I need to see him every day," she said in a story in that paper today. "I just wish I could feel that (warm feeling) right now. I feel so empty."
Baker also is survived by a 4-year-old stepson, Coletin.