WEST READING, Pa. - A local Army soldier who was due to return home for the holidays has lost his life fighting in Afghanistan.
The Pentagon said Staff Sgt. Sean Michael Flannery of Wyomissing, Berks County, was killed when insurgents attacked his unit on Monday.
Flannery, 29, was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 502nd Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division based in Fort Campbell, Ky.
He enlisted with the Army in July 2004 after graduating from Shippensburg University in 2003 and Wyomissing Area High School in 1999.
You could say the battlefield was the perfect place for Flannery.
Whether at war or on the soccer field, if you ask his old soccer coach at Wyomissing, Flannery was used to making big saves.
"We were weak in a lot of areas in the field, but Sean was a mainstay for us and really kept us in a lot of games," said Mike Kuhn. "He felt like his number was called and he wanted to go serve his country."
Kuhn said he'll never forget when Flannery told him he was enlisting in the Army.
"I had said to him, 'Sean, are you crazy? With Iraq and Afghanistan going on, do you really want to be doing that?' And he simply stated that he thought it was his time to serve his county," said Kuhn. "And I thought that was incredibly admirable."
Kuhn said Flannery had big plans for the holidays, like proposing marriage to his girlfriend. Kuhn said it was an emotional scene when he visited family members.
"Because he was going to be home for Christmas and was going to propose," said Kuhn. "So to be there today, under the circumstances was, boy, was incredibly difficult."
Flannery, who has fought in both Afghanistan and Iraq, was awarded the Bronze Star and an Overseas Service Ribbon.
A spokesman for the Edward J. Kuhn Funeral Home in West Reading told 69 News that services for Flannery are still pending.
Contributions can be made in his memory to the Olivet Boys and Girls Club, 1161 Pershing Blvd., Reading PA 19611.
Governor Rendell Wednesday ordered all U.S. and Pennsylvania flags in the Capitol Complex and at commonwealth facilities in Berks County to be flown at half-staff in Flannery's honor.
Flannery is the second Army soldier from Berks County to be killed in Afghanistan this month.
Specialist Anthony Vargas of Reading died on November 8 of wounds he suffered in an attack on his unit in Nangarhar province.
Allentown, PA 18102