Army Spec. Troy Carlin Linden, 22, of Rochert, was killed in Anbar province on Saturday, according to his family.
Friends and family remember Troy Linden as an easygoing guy, with a big smile and a love of the outdoors. He was the youngest of three siblings who grew up on a farm near Detroit Lakes.
Ryan Linden is two years older than Troy.
"He was a fun-loving guy. He had a real easygoing personality," Ryan Linden remembers of his brother. "He just had this quality that would just put everybody at ease. If there was ever a tense moment or any kind of incident, he had this natural ability calm the area. He was just so laid back and matter of fact."
We could tell how sad he was because he wanted to be home, but we reassured him that we loved him and how proud we were of him.Troy Linden's brother Ryan
Ryan Linden says his brother was a young man trying to figure out what to do with his life. He says Troy was motivated to join the Army by the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, and by the promise of money for college after his tour of duty.
"I noticed a real change in my brother from the time he went to basic training and then overseas," Ryan Linden says. "For the first time I didn't see him as my little brother, I saw him as a man."
He said his brother, in his phone calls from Iraq, would try to ease their mother's mind by telling her he drove the last truck in the convoy, even when he didn't.
"It was hard to hear his voice over there because we could tell how sad he was because he wanted to be home, but we reassured him that we loved him and how proud we were of him," his brother says.
His sister, Sarah Nelson, also expressed pride.
"I was proud of him the day he joined the service, and I was proud of him every step he took," Nelson says.
Troy Linden loved adventure from the time he was a little boy, according to his brother Ryan. "I remember when he was a little boy he used to ask mom if he could please drive through the mud puddles on his bike, because he just loved to get dirty," Ryan remembers. "He never grew out of that. He loved to go off-roading. He had a Jeep, and he would go up into the hills and mountains. He just loved that."
Troy Linden was active in music and drama at Detroit Lakes High School, from which he graduated in 2002. Ryan Linden says among his fondest memories of Troy was the time the brothers were both cast in the school's production of "Bram Stoker's Dracula."
"For the first time we played counterparts. He was Renfield and I was Dracula, and Troy stole the show. He had a smaller part, but he stole the show, he was definitely the star," says Ryan Linden. "I'll never forget those months that we were so close and shared that experience together."
Ryan Linden says he also clings to the memory of a reunion at the family farm about two months ago, when Troy was home on leave. He says the family had a last chance to let Troy know how proud they were of him and how much they loved him.
The Lindens are leaning on family and friends as they wait to hear when Troy will be coming home for the last time.
"We probably had 60 or 70 people, friends and family, out here all day yesterday. And people just keep coming and stopping by and supporting mom and dad, because it's probably going to be a week or two before we even receive his remains to do a funeral. So it's going to really hard waiting.
Army Spec. Troy Linden is the 41st Minnesotan to die in connection with the war in Iraq and Afghanistan.
(The Associated Press contributed to this report)