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A 21-year-old airman from Elmendorf Air Force Base was killed in Iraq, and two others from the base were injured, the military said Tuesday. Airman 1st Class Carl L. Anderson Jr. of Georgetown, S.C., died Sunday morning when the truck he was driving was destroyed by a roadside bomb near Mosul, said the Air Force's 3rd Wing, headquartered at Elmendorf. Anderson, had been stationed at Elmendorf since April 2002. Anderson enlisted in the Air Force before he graduated from high school, his father, Carl Anderson Sr., said by phone from Georgetown. The airman saw his part in the American campaign in Iraq as " 'a duty I've got to perform,' " his father said. "He believed in doing his duty." Anderson was a member of the 3rd Logistics Readiness Squadron. The 3rd LRS at Elmendorf numbers 450 members. It supports vehicle operations, storage and supply of fuel and lubricants, shipping and other services, according to the Air Force. Anderson's specialty was vehicles. He and 20 others from the 3rd LRS left Elmendorf in mid-June, the squadron commander, Lt. Col. Maurice McDonald, said Tuesday. After training with U.S. Army forces in Texas, they entered Iraq in early August to support Army operations in the northern part of the country, McDonald said. They are scheduled to return to Elmendorf in February or March. More members will be leaving for Iraq soon, McDonald said. About 120 airmen from several units at Elmendorf are now in Iraq. On Sunday morning, local time in Iraq, some LRS members were riding in a convoy near Mosul when a so-called improvised explosive device detonated as Anderson's 5-ton cargo truck rolled by, according to McDonald. What the truck carried, if anything, was unavailable. McDonald would not say if the bomb was triggered by the presence of the truck or remotely, nor would he say if Anderson died instantly. Anderson, who was single, was praised widely Tuesday and remembered in his hometown as a young man with a ready smile. Alaska Gov. Frank Murkowski's office Tuesday said the governor was saddened and had offered prayers for Anderson and the two wounded servicemen and their families. "They are our neighbors, our friends, our family," Murkowski said in the statement. "Carl Anderson was the sharpest, most squared-away professional young man you'd ever want to meet," Master Sgt. Gregory Nygaard, the unit's 1st sergeant, said Tuesday. Anderson, Nygaard added, was often noticed and commended by his superiors. The 3rd LRS was devastated and in mourning, McDonald said. A memorial service would be held on the base toward the end of the week. Members of the Elmendorf community would take Anderson's personal effects to his family. McDonald said he spoke to Anderson's father on Sunday. Carl Anderson Sr. is a minister at Georgetown's Greater St. Mark's A.M.E. Church. Members of his congregation had joined the family at their home Sunday and were comforting them, McDonald said. Anderson said his son was a member of the Air Force ROTC at Georgetown High School and enlisted before his graduation in May 2001, at age 17. "We wanted him to go to college, and he got accepted to two colleges, but his choice was he wanted to go into the Air Force," his father said. "He loved to drive, so he went into transportation." The youth went on active duty in December 2001, at age 18. Following basic training, he was assigned to Alaska. "After he got adjusted to the cold, he just loved the scenery," Carl Anderson Sr. said. "He said it was real nice. He said the people were real nice." The family, who include the airman's mother, Doris, and two sisters, one older by a year, the other younger by a few years, learned of his death Sunday night when four members of the Air Force called on the family, Anderson said. "They were real nice," he said. "They stayed with us for about two hours. ... Without God, I don't know where we'd be or what we'd do right now to get through this." His son called often from Iraq. "I just talked to him Friday evening, and his sister talked to him Saturday morning," Anderson said. "He said he was doing all right, they were still hard at it, and he would keep everybody in his prayers. I told him we were praying for the troops. I told him, 'Always remember: God has your back.' " The young man was "well mannered, respectful, enjoyable to be around," his father said. "He always had a smile. He would make people smile. He would brighten your day." Anderson was voted most popular student in his senior class, "prom prince" in his third year and "prom king" in his fourth, said Michael Cafaro, the high school principal. Georgetown, a coastal city of about 9,000, had not suffered a death in Iraq before now, said Kathi Stevenson, Anderson's high school English teacher. "You see it on the news all the time when other communities lose promising young people, and this is the first time in a long time that Georgetown lost somebody in this way," Stevenson said. "He was a very charismatic young man," she said. "He had a glint in his eye, and a smile on his face, and he always looked like he was up to something when he really wasn't, because he was a good kid. But he just had that mischievous, charming attitude all the time." Anderson ran track. He had his eye on the girls, Stevenson said, but he was "not a big dater because of his religious beliefs. ... He was very charming and respectful of women." The military was his dream from when he was a junior, she said. "He loved his country, his family, his community."

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