An Army sergeant from Indiana who spent two years at a Minnesota university was killed last week in Afghanistan, the Department of Defense said over the weekend.

Sgt. Kyle B. Osborn, 26, who attended Minnesota State University Mankato from 2005 to 2007, died Thursday when insurgents attacked his unit with small-arms and rocket-propelled grenade fire in Muqer, in northwestern Afghanistan, the Defense Department said. He served in the 1st Battalion, 503rd Infantry Regiment, based at Camp Ederle in Vicenza, Italy.

Osborn grew up in Indiana, graduating in 2005 from McCutcheon High School in Lafayette, where he played football and wrestled, his father, Creighton Osborn, said by phone Sunday evening from Dover Air Force Base in Delaware, where he, Osborn's mother, Miriam Osborn of Blackduck, Minn., and the soldier's wife had traveled to receive his remains.

Osborn described his son as "a very intelligent young man with lots of common sense."

Osborn said that he and his wife, who is Kyle's stepmom, and their 10-year-old son and 14-year-old daughter were at home late Thursday when their dog began to bark just before a knock at the door.

"I wondered who it was so late, and when I opened the door, it was an Army chaplain in a black uniform, the full deal, along with an Army sergeant," he said.

He said that even though the family is grieving, they are proud of Kyle's service and spirit.

"He's always had a wide-open, head-on warrior attitude, no matter what his goal [was], whether it was the Army or marriage or wrestling," his dad said.

Kyle studied civil engineering at MSU, dropping out after his second year, his father said.

"That summer, he called me to say he wanted to join the Army; he'd been thinking about it ever since 9/11, when God pricked his heart," his father said.

"I told him, 'Wait seven days, then see how you feel.' On the sixth day, he called me back and said, 'Dad, I'm sure.'"

He enlisted in 2008 and was sent to Afghanistan six weeks ago. "He loved every minute of his time in the Army -- it was his groove," his father said.

Osborn said his son met his wife, who was from Delano, in Mankato. She went with him to Italy when he was transferred there. The couple have no children.

He said his son had asked him to deliver his eulogy if anything happened to him, and that he intends to keep that promise. Services will be held in Indiana.

Pamela Miller • 612-673-4290