'We're going to miss him. A lot of people are going to miss him'

SEATTLE -- The father of a Seattle Marine killed in combat said his son's ultimate sacrifice will allow others to "come home."

Sgt. William Stacey was on foot patrol Tuesday in Afghanistan when an enemy explosive device went off, killing the 23-year-old.

William's father, Robert Stacey, described his son as a born leader with wisdom beyond his years. He said it was the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 that inspired William to protect his country.

"He was the guy who did what the team needed him to do," Robert said.

William grew up in Seattle, where he played baseball and eventually left to attend Shasta College in Redding, California.

Despite his love of baseball, Robert said William always wanted to be part of a bigger team.

"He'd always been interested in military things ever since he was very, very small. But he saw 9-11 as an attack on the country," Robert said. "And he believed that by serving in the Marines he could help defend the country."

William entered the Marines in early 2007 and was deployed five times, with four of the deployments in Afghanistan.

"He jumped at the chance to do the training of the Afghan army and police. He saw that as a really important step to handing over defense of the country to the Afghans," Robert said.

That important step would be his last, and while his death is saddening, his father said his son's efforts to save other marines is something that will never be forgotten.

"We were very proud of him, and he'd come to be quietly proud of himself, and boy he had every right to be," he said. "We're going to miss him. A lot of people are going to miss him."