"He was an excellent leader and very proud of the soldiers under his command. He believed in the mission and that he had a role to play to help those in need in Afghanistan," his family said in a statement.

Lucas, 31 years old, was born and raised in St. John’s, N.L. His family described him as a "proud Newfoundlander.”

A member of the 2nd battalion, The Royal Canadian Regiment, he was stationed at CFB Gagetown in New Brunswick and lived in the nearby town of Burton. He has two children, son Matthew and daughter MacKenzie.

"In his spare time, Don enjoyed everything to do with the outdoors, from hunting to boating, to sitting around the campfire with Matthew, and looked forward to his days boating on the river" the family said.

A man reached at the home of one of Lucas’s relatives said the family had no comment. In its statement, the family asked the media to respect their privacy.

News of the soldiers’ death cast a pall over Oromocto, a small military town of about 9,000 nestled next to CFB Gagetown.

On most days, military veterans and local residents can be heard swapping stories at the mall in town, said Doreen Williams, an Oromocto resident whose husband served on several NATO peacekeeping missions.

That’s where she would occasionally run into Lucas, whom she described as a "gentleman” who appeared dedicated to his work.

But the entire town seemed eerily quiet Monday, she said.

"Look at the Canadians who were killed in Vimy, and look what’s happening now. When are Bush and the rest of them going to say hey, ‘Enough is enough’?"