Pfc. Russell E. Madden, 29, loved to compete.
At Bellevue High School in Northern Kentucky, he excelled in track and football. In his Army unit's flag football games, he quarterbacked.
A gunner and armored-vehicle driver, he was at the head of a convoy in the Konar province of Afghanistan last month when it was attacked by enemy rockets.
Pfc. Madden died June 23, leaving behind a wife, Michelle, two sons, his parents and a brother and sister.
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He was assigned to the 1st Squadron, 91st Cavalry Regiment, 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team based in Germany.
For Father's Day last month, he sent his father, Martin Madden, an Airborne flag.
His mother, Peggy Davitt of Newport, told the Kentucky Enquirer that "there is no aspect of his life you would not be proud of" and that she was "honored to be his mother."
Flags at state buildings are flying at half-staff in his honor. Funeral services for the Dayton, Ky., resident will be held this morning at the Divine Mercy Parish in Bellevue with burial at St. Stephen Cemetery in Fort Thomas.
Stars and Stripes reports that his troop commander, Capt. Matt Booth, said that officers and his fellow soldiers will remember Pfc. Madden for his fearless attitude, that they counted on him "to make things happen when times were tough" and that he "would never leave his buddies in a bad situation."
"If God needed a quarterback, he found a great one in Russell Madden," the captain wrote.
A 2000 graduate of Bellevue High School, Pfc. Madden is the second of his class of 200 to die in combat. Justin Scott was killed in Iraq in 2004, according to the Enquirer.
Pfc. Madden was posthumously promoted to specialist.
We offer condolences to his family and honor his courage and sacrifice.