Friends and colleagues of a Royal Welsh corporal from the Cynon Valley killed by a roadside bomb in Iraq with two colleagues say he loved Army life.
Corporal Paul Joszko's partner is expecting their second child
Paul Joszko, 28, from Abercynon, died with Privates Scott Kennedy and Jamie Kerr, both 20, after stepping from an armoured vehicle.
He was described as a character and "an excellent soldier", and his partner is expecting their second child.
He served in 2nd Battalion The Royal Welsh (The Royal Regiment of Wales).
Lieutenant Colonel James Swift MBE, Commanding Officer of the battalion described him as "an excellent soldier".
"He was amongst the best of his generation," he said.
"He was doggedly loyal, acutely professional and led his men firmly but also with style and enormous compassion.
"There was nothing complicated about him; he loved soldiering, looked after his men, and led by example."
One friend, Lee Jenkins, said: "I used to see him when he used to come home when he was on leave.
"He loved the Army. He loved that life. He didn't see the danger.
"A lot of people will miss him. He was a family man. He had plenty of friends.
Corporal Joszko was outside his vehicle when the bomb exploded
"I'll remember him as just being funny. He was never, ever miserable. I've never once seen him down. He was a character."
Cpl Joszko belonged to the Kyber Colts Boxing club in Mountain Ash and photographs of him boxing hang in the local pub.
Neighbours said he was said to be very much looking forward to coming home soon from Iraq to be with his partner and young child and the rest of his family.
His mother, Linda, works in the Mountain Ash day centre and is described as very caring.
Pauline Jarman, a friend of hers, and a local councillor, said people were doing what they could to support her and the family.
She said: "We've got to acknowledge the family's right to privacy at this sad time for them but I think it's important for them to know that the whole community is behind them.
"Everyone's thought is with Paul's partner, his young child, his mother and all of his other relatives."
Stuart Gregory is the ward councillor, who also writes for the local newspaper. He said: "Everybody's so sad.
"This is a very close community and everybody will be thinking of this family, I'm sure."
Defence Secretary Des Browne said his thoughts were with the families and the attack reminded people of "the bravery and commitment" of British troops in Iraq.