Cpl. Matthew Richard died doing what he had always wanted to do: serving his country in the U.S. Marine Corps, his mother said Thursday.

Uniformed servicemen arrived at Alicia Richard’s doorstep in Iota at 6 a.m. Thursday to deliver the news to the grieving mother and her husband, Jeff.

Richard, 21, was killed by an improvised explosive device at 10:17 a.m. Thursday (Afghanis- tan time.)

He was serving his second tour of duty with Golf Company, 2nd Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment, his mother said.

“He died doing what he wanted to do,” she said.

Richard joined the Marines after his high school graduation and one week before his 18th birthday.

“He was a hero,” Alicia Richard said. “Very few young men know at 18 what they want to do with their lives and stick with it.”

She described her son as a “wonderful boy” with a “beautiful sense of humor.”

Matthew Richard’s dream of being a Marine dated back to at least the second grade, where he wrote in a journal about his desire to one day serve his country, Alicia Richard said.

Over the years, her son studied the different branches of the military before settling on the Marines because “they were hard-core,” she said.

The Marine-to-be likely gathered inspiration from looking at pictures of his great-grandfather, who had served in the Air Force.

“I think he was just in awe of him,” she said.

Initially, the family tried to talk Matthew out of joining the Corps, fearing for his well-being, Alicia Richard said.

“He said he had to because it was his dream and if he didn’t do it he would regret it,” she said. “His second dream was to have a family. He’ll never have that.”

The middle child grew up athletic and loved to hunt and fish. It was hard not to find him with a gun in his hand, the mother joked.

At Iota High School, Matthew Richard enjoyed playing football, and played as much as he could “when his hands weren’t broken,” she said, referencing his love for the physical sport.

Richard’s uncle, Bryan Newsom, described Matthew as a “real athletic guy.”

“A real loveable person,” Newsom said. “He loved his country.”

The family plans to be in Dover, Del., when their son’s body arrives, Richard said.

Funeral arrangements are pending.