VERNAL -- Family and friends in Vernal are mourning the death of a 21-year-old hometown Marine.
Sgt. Daniel Gurr was killed this week in Malozai, Afghanistan, while on patrol. Tracy Beede, his mother, said military officials told her that her son was clearing a village when he was killed by enemy fire.
"That knock on the door was awful," she said when the family was told Friday.
Gurr liked to play soccer and was a student body officer at Uintah High School. Family and friends said he knew early in his life that he wanted to be a military man.
"The only thing I can say is that he was doing what he loved to do. He wanted to be a Marine ever since he was 9 or 10," said David Gurr, Daniel's father.
John Laursen, a Uintah County undersheriff and family friend, teased that Gurr was born with combat boots, a helmet and a Ka-Bar knife between his teeth.
Beede said when Gurr turned 17, he "begged and begged" for permission to enlist because he was too young to do so without. Within days of his 2008 high school graduation, he left for basic training.
"He always wanted to pay back, as he put it, his freedom," she said. "He wanted to give other people the opportunities he had. People need to know the opportunities they get in this world come from the sacrifices of others, and that's how Daniel looked at it."
Funeral arrangements were still pending Saturday.