Army Specialist Jonathan Curtis of Belmont was doing his job Monday, guarding the entrance to an American base in the Taliban heartland of Afghanistan. When a soldier from the Afghan National Army approached the checkpoint, Curtis intercepted the visitor as he had been trained to do.
That act in Kandahar would be his last. The Afghan soldier detonated a suicide bomb that killed Curtis, 24, and another soldier from the 101st Airborne Division. But by doing his job, his father said, Curtis has been credited by the Army with protecting seven other soldiers who suffered injuries instead of death.
"There's valor there, there's bravery, there's a sense of duty to the mission to do what I'm supposed to do," said his father, Philip Curtis of Cambridge.
Jonathan Curtis, who joined the Army in September 2004, had been part of First Battalion, 502d Infantry Regiment, Second Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division, based at Fort Campbell, Ky.
He is survived by his wife, Samantha Curtis, and a 7-month-old daughter, Tessa-Marie A. Curtis, of Knoxville, Tenn.
Funeral services will be held in Knoxville at a date to be determined. A memorial service is being planned for Belmont, possibly in early December, the family said.