An Army sergeant with ties to Cheektowaga was killed Monday in Afghanistan when his unit came under rocket attack, family and military officials said.
Sgt. 1st Class Raymond J. Munden, 35, originally from Mesquite, Texas, was on his fourth tour with the Army, his father-in-law, Henry J. Koshofer, 59, of Lancaster, told The Buffalo News.
"Twice to Iraq and this was his second tour in Afghanistan," Koshofer said.
Munden's latest tour was scheduled to wrap up around March 10. After that, the career soldier was supposed to be transferred to the U.S. Military Academy at West Point for a job as an instructor.
About 10 years ago, when Munden was assigned to Fort Drum, he was sent to Western New York to work at the Thruway Lanes recruiting station. He was set up on a blind date with Kelly Koshofer, of Cheektowaga, and the two hit it off. They were married in September 2000.
Over the years, they had two daughters: Sydney, now 6, and Kailey, who is 2.
They lived in Cheektowaga for a while before moving to Kentucky when he was transferred to Fort Campbell.
Every time Munden was deployed, his wife would bring her daughters to her mother's home in Cheektowaga.
Munden was devoted to his family and the Army, his father-in-law said.
"He was a gung-ho soldier," Koshofer said. "He loved it. The loves of his life were his children and wife and the Army."
However, with deployment after deployment, Munden was growing weary of war.
"He ended up getting really frustrated with the multiple deployments," Koshofer said.
In November, Munden learned about his transfer to West Point and was looking forward to beginning the new stateside assignment.
Munden was last in the U.S. on leave for Thanksgiving.
"It was a great time," Koshofer said, noting that Munden became a godfather to his sister-in-law's son during the trip.
Monday night, Army officials delivered the sad news about Munden's death to his wife and her family.
Munden was at Forward Operating Base Tillman, which is named after former NFL player Pat Tillman, who was killed in Afghanistan, and is located in the Paktika Province, when he suffered wounds during an attack.
Kelly Munden was devastated by the loss of her husband.
"She has some times when she feels better than other," her father said. "She's in shock."
The family is now awaiting word on when Munden's body will be flown back to the U.S. Koshofer said the funeral would take place in Western New York.
"The last time I saw him I told him that I loved him and to not be a hero, it's almost over," Koshofer said. " 'Come on back.' "
Munden, who joined the Army in 1991, had earned many honors, including a Bronze Star.
In addition to his his wife and daughters, he is survived by two sons, Gaven and Garrett; his father, Ralph; and his mother, Billie Clark.