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      Grandfather mourns loss of local soldier killed in Afghanistan

      Frank Phillips Jr. remembers grandson as a good man and brave soldier.

      As he mourns the loss of the little boy he called "Frankie", Frank Phillips Jr. of Savannah in Wayne County says he's honored to share his name with an American hero, his grandson.

      Staff Sgt. Francis Gene Phillips IV died in a roadside bomb blast in southern Afghanistan over the weekend.

      Governor Andrew Cuomo has directed that flags on state government buildings be flown at half-staff on Friday, May 10 in honor of Phillips.

      "He was just an all around good boy, a good boy. Never any trouble to his parents," says Phillips.

      For Frank Phillips IV, 28, service was in his blood. His father, mother, grandfather, cousin and uncle all served in the military.

      While Frank Junior waits in Savannah, his son is in Delaware picking up Frank IV's body. From there they will go to Arlington National Cemetary, where the entire family will attend his funeral.

      While he deals with unimaginable grief, he takes comfort knowing his grandson died doing what he loves, serving his country.

      "They're trying to save us, to protect us and I just say god bless them," says Phillips.

      It's a sacrifice for our freedom and a loss for this local family, as they remember a young man with such pride, who leaves behind a wife and four-year-old little girl.

      The Department of Defense says Phillips died of wounds sustained when his vehicle was attacked by an improvised explosive device. He was assigned to the 1st Battalion 36th Infantry Regiment 1st Brigade Combat Team of the 1st Armored Division based at Fort Bliss, Texas.

      "Along with all New Yorkers, I mourn the death of Staff Sgt. Phillips and I extend my deepest sympathy and condolences to his friends, family and fellow soldiers," Cuomo said in a media release. "We will honor his sacrifice and his dedication to our great nation."