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"An eighth American was killed in a separate attack.

Wednesday night, Obama personally offered condolences to Walz' relatives at Dover Air Force Base in Delaware. All eight soldiers had been based at Fort Lewis.

Family members said Walz played football at Hudson's Bay High School and had worked for years in the produce section of the WinCo store in Hazel Dell. He graduated from Bay in 2002.

Walz, 25, was part of the 5th Stryker Brigade Combat Team of the 2nd Infantry Division out of Fort Lewis.

His aunt, Carla Burns of Vancouver, said Walz was deployed to Afghanistan in July, had come home on leave recently, and had been back to Afghanistan for only about 10 days.

""He was a sweet kid, always had a smile on his face,"" Burns said. ""He would do anything for anybody to help them.""

She said Walz also graduated from Clark College.

Asked why he joined the Army, Burns said, ""I think this was a way to pay for college. He was very excited about going, though.

""He was excited that he got stationed at Fort Lewis so he could be close to home.""

Burns said Walz' mother, Victoria Walz, a nurse, and other relatives were in Delaware to claim remains. Relatives believe Walz' body will be brought by jet to Vancouver's Pearson Field today.

Walz' given name was Christopher, but he went by Ian.

Friends and family members in Vancouver on Wednesday night said Walz was a fun-loving man but also serious, with hopes to study political science at a university, possibly Washington State University Vancouver, when he returned from the fighting.

""He really wanted to be a teacher,"" or possibly a police officer, said Madeline DaMore, 22, who said she was his fiancée. ""A lot of people cared about him,"" she said.

She added: ""He wanted to go to school and become something useful. He wanted to make a difference in the world.""

She said Walz often watched CNN and enjoyed reading history."

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