GRANTSVILLE — With her 5-week-old son tightly clasped in her arms, Savanna Byrd held up a photo of the boy's father holding his newborn son and grinning with delight.
The young mother was grateful for a few now-cherished photos of her husband, Jordan Byrd, and his son — because they're now the only ones she'll ever have.
Occasionally bursting into tears, Savanna Byrd talked about her husband, an Army medic with the 101st Airborne, who was killed in the Paktika province in Afghanistan on Wednesday.
Army Pfc. Jordan Byrd, stationed in Fort Campbell, Ky., was killed while working near the Pakistan border. Byrd's uncle, Jon Byrd, says he died during a gunfight trying to help a wounded soldier.
Surrounded by 15-20 friends and family members, Savannah Byrd explained how her last memory of her husband was when her son Ayden was born.
Jordan Byrd, 19, was scheduled to leave before she gave birth to the couple's first child, but the Army gave him permission to deploy late so he could be there for Ayden's birth.
"I don't know what I would've done if he wasn't there," Savannah Byrd said. "He was there every second, by my side the whole time. … It was great to have him there, to see him, hold him, and be there with him."
Family members said Jordan, a Dugway High graduate, wanted to become a doctor because he loved helping people.
"He surprised us all by coming home and saying he joined the Army, and he just figured it was a better way to get his education," Jordan's aunt, Jodi Steinfeldt, said.
The fallen soldier's parents flew to Delaware Thursday morning. The rest of the family and many of Jordan's close friends were outside the family's home in Grantsville Thursday night.
Jordan's sister, Abby Byrd, says she will always remember the time he came home from military training and surprised her at her school locker.
"He was in his dress uniform, his hat and everything," she said. "I was just so happy to see him. He was my best friend."
More than 100 friends and family held candles outside a coffee shop in Tooele Thursday night — many with tears in their eyes as they struggled with the knowledge they would never see Jordan again.
Family members have been given few details as to what happened leading up to Jordan's death but were told he was killed while trying to help a fellow soldier.
While comforting each other Thursday night while American flags fluttered on the lawn outside the Grantsville home, family agreed that it was exactly what Jordan would have done.
"… He was a hero," Savannah Byrd said. "He was doing what he loved, and I think he wouldn't have wanted it any other way."
Utah Gov. Gary Herbert issued a statement expressing sorrow for Jordan's family's loss and the news of another fallen Utah soldier.
"Private First Class Byrd has paid the ultimate sacrifice to defend our country and our American way of life, and for that he will never be forgotten," Herbert said in a prepared statement. "Jeanette and I extend our deepest condolences and our heartfelt sympathies to Private First Class Byrd's family and loved ones, as well as the gratitude of the State for his service."
Jordan Byrd's grandfather, Richard Pitt, said Jordan talked to his father on Sunday before going on his second patrol after arriving in Afghanistan.
Jordan's parents, who live in Grantsville, are traveling to Dover Air Force Base in Delaware to await the return of their son's body.
Jordan Byrd is the fourth Utah soldier to die in Afghanistan in the last two months. Chief Warrant Officer Matthew G. Wagstaff, 34, of Orem, died Sept. 21, when his Blackhawk helicopter went down in southern Afghanistan as part of Operation Enduring Freedom.
Cottonwood Heights soldier Sgt. Aaron Kramer, 22, was killed during a firefight in Afghanistan on Sept. 16. and 33-year-old Capt. Ellery Ray Wallace, died from wounds inflicted when a rocket-propelled grenade stuck his vehicle in Nangahar, Afghanistan, on Aug. 29.
Contributing: Steve Fidel