DOVER, Del. (CBS/AP) — A special forces soldier from Delaware has been killed in fighting in Afghanistan, Army officials said Tuesday.

Warrant Officer Sean W. Mullen, 39, of Dover died Sunday in Lashkar Gah, Afghanistan, of wounds sustained when insurgents attacked his unit with an improvised explosive device, officials said.

Mullen was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 5th Special Forces Group (Airborne), at Fort Campbell, Ky.

His mother, Miriam, said Mullen deployed to Afghanistan on Jan. 10 after spending Christmas with his family.

Mullen attended Caesar Rodney High School and Delaware Technical and Community College before joining the Maryland National Guard in 1993. He enlisted in the Army in 1995 and trained as a special forces medic before completing warrant officer school late last year. Mullen’s classmates in warrant officer training selected him to receive a leadership award, his mother said.

Besides his parents, Mullen is survived by his widow, Nancy, whom he married in 2005. He also is survived by an older sister, Christina, and a niece and nephew.

“One of the things that he loved was spending time with them, especially his nephew,” Mrs. Mullen said. “Sean was his hero.”

The native of Allentown, Pa., moved to Dover with his family when he was 3 years old. As a boy, he enjoyed playing soccer and baseball, as well as the outdoors.

As an adult, Mullen developed a love for reading and enjoyed tinkering with old Jeeps and collecting antique guns.

“He was just a ferocious reader… He loved history,” his mother said.

Gov. Jack Markell has ordered U.S. and Delaware flags lowered to half-staff in honor of Mullen. Flags should remain lowered through Friday.

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