Staff Sgt. Mark Christopher Wells looked forward to being part of a family of four.
He and his wife, Danielle, have a 2-year-old son, and she is eight months pregnant.
"Family was very important to him," said his aunt Patti Stewart.
Wells, 31, an explosive ordnance disposal technician, was killed Saturday by a bomb in Helmand province in Afghanistan.
Wells was assigned to the 303rd Ordnance Battalion, 45th Sustainment Brigade, 8th Theater Sustainment Command at Schofield Barracks since July 2008.
"It so breaks my heart," said his father, Burl Wells, in a tearful telephone interview. "That little boy loves him so much, and that little girl who is coming won’t get to know her daddy."
"Mark was an unbelievable father," Wells said.
Mark Wells was born and raised in San Jose, Calif., where he grew up with three older sisters. He enlisted in the Army in December 2003.
Soon after, he deployed to Iraq for a 14-month tour until February 2005. In August he deployed to Afghanistan for a yearlong tour.
Wells’ father described him as a fearless and caring leader who was passionate about his bomb disposal mission.
"He would say, ‘Dad, I know it’s dangerous. Just know that I love what I’m doing,’" his father said by phone yesterday from Dover Air Force Base, Del., where he and his wife, Sharon, awaited the arrival of their son’s body.
He was adventurous and enjoyed sky diving, scuba diving and rock climbing, Wells’ father said.
"He liked to do it all," he added.
Wells met his wife, who was serving in the Navy, while they were stationed in Hawaii, and they were married here. While Wells was deployed in Afghanistan, his wife moved back to Arizona to be close to family.
Wells enjoyed family get-togethers on St. Patrick’s Day for home-cooked corned beef and cabbage and Guinness beer, his father recalled.
"Mark loved everything Irish," he said.
Services will be held on St. Patrick’s Day in Phoenix with bagpipe music.
A bagpipe player himself, Wells was called upon to play for fallen soldiers in Iraq, his father said.
"He loved his country. He loved the Army. And I’ll miss him forever."
Wells is also survived by son Finnegan and sisters Angeline Jesse, Sheila Blue and Shannon McCarn.