First lieutenant Chase Prasnicki died from a blast caused by an improvised explosive device.
The 24-year-old from Rockbridge County had only just arrived in Afghanistan on Sunday.
Friends, family and the community gathered for a candlelight vigil to remember him.
Prasnicki was a star quarterback at Rockbridge High School and went on to play football at the U.S. Military Academy.
He graduated from West Point in 2010.
The Army ranger leaves behind a wife.