There was little doubt as Andrew Doiron grew up in the Maritimes that the young Acadian would pursue a military career that eventually took him across Canada, then across the world, to the fields and villages of northern Iraq.
Sergeant Doiron, 31, died Friday night when a Kurdish fighter shot him by mistake as a group of Canadian soldiers were returning from an observation post.
He was a member of the Canadian Special Operations Regiment, which had been deployed to train local troops in the fight against the extremist group calling itself Islamic State.
Sgt. Doiron was remembered as athletic, patriotic and trustworthy, someone who made clear in high school that he wanted to serve in the Canadian Forces. "He was very intense, motivated and determined that that's what he wanted to do. And passionate about that," former classmate Stephanie Learmouth said in an interview. "It was to no one's surprise that he decided to pursue that."
Photos shared on social media during the weekend documented Sgt. Doiron's transformation from thin, clean-cut teenaged student to a more muscular, tattooed soldier. In later pictures, he is seen wielding an assault rifle and pistol at the shooting range or appearing in an arid Middle East setting, his red beard grown out, as is the fashion for special-forces operators dispatched to Muslim countries.
Sgt. Doiron, known to friends as Drew, was born May 3, 1983, in Moncton, N.B. He was single and came from a small family, with one sister. His parents still live in Moncton. He attended a French-language high school, École Mathieu-Martin, in Dieppe, in the east-end of Moncton, and graduated in June of 2001.
Even though it was months before the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks in New York and Washington, he was aware of the threat of extremists. In his high school yearbook, obtained by CBC News, between more lighthearted inscriptions, Sgt. Doiron listed his ambition to work in counter-terrorism.
In 2002, he enlisted in the Canadian Forces and, the following year, moved to Western Canada, where he was a member of the 3rd Battalion of the Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry Regiment, garrisoned at CFB Edmonton.
In 2006, while Canada was in the midst of its combat mission in Afghanistan, the Canadian Special Operations Regiment was created to supplement Joint Task Force 2, Canada's national counterterrorism unit.
Like other special-forces units, CSOR requires skilled, experienced soldiers who would have to spend long periods abroad.
It is not known when Sgt. Doiron passed the demanding selection process to join CSOR but in 2009, he relocated to CFB Petawawa, where the regiment is based.
A close friend, Marc Melanson, said Sgt. Doiron revelled in the camaraderie of elite soldiers. "His eyes would light up every time he talked about it. He talked about the brother-like bond he had with his peers and how he was in his element when he was with them," Mr. Melanson wrote in a tribute on Facebook.
After he was deployed to Iraq this year, as part of Operation Impact, Sgt. Doiron shared a photo of himself in combat gear, standing next to a military vehicle, a scarf wrapped around his head.
He said he wanted that photo to be shown if anything happened to him.